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Softball Return Reliant On Clubs’ Compliance

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All clubs have to comply with the COVID-19 regulations at training in order for league return date to be set

TLOTLO KEBINAKGABO

Local softball clubs’ ability to prove that they can abide by COVID-19 regulations at training is the only thing that is holding the sport from returning to competitive events, Gazette Sport has learnt.

Softball, along with other sporting codes has been inactive for almost five months due to measures that were introduced to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. However, after months of hibernation, the sport has been given the green light to resume with competitions (without spectators) by the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC).

“For us to return to competitive events, all clubs have to comply with the COVID-19 regulations training manual,” noted Botswana Softball Association (BSA) Sport Development Officer (SDO) Tebogo Johannes in an interview with this publication. “It is worthy to note that they have to comply with those regulations before they can also start with their training.”According to Johannes, as of date about three teams have been checked and are compliant to the regulations.

Meanwhile, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in June published a set of health and operational recommendations for the safe return of baseball and softball activity. The precautionary measures and recommendations- named “Safe Return to Baseball/Softball – COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines” – have been developed by the WBSC Medical Commission in accordance with the World Health Organization’s risk assessment tool and “Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19”.

Recommendations by WBSC specific to softball games, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections include: avoidance of equipment sharing by players, batters retrieving their own bat when possible and players (in particular pitchers), avoidance to lick their fingers. Some of the recommendations include the cleaning of bases every half inning and keeping a minimum physical distance of one metre in the dugout. WBSC nevertheless encouraged National Federations, leagues and other baseball/softball entities to develop their own specific written policies and operating protocols in coordination with their respective local health authorities before returning to competition.

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