Following the announcement by the Minister for Health Dr Chris Fearne on Tuesday 25th January, whereby vaccination certificates will no longer be mandatory for entry into several venues, the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta would like to express its disappointment at the Ministry’s decision not to include outdoor sports events in this list.

The ASA, following all protocols in place at present, must apply to SportMalta for approval of all aquatic competitions. In addition to this, for spectators to be allowed to watch their favourite sport, approval must also be sought from MTA.

The exclusion of outdoor social events once again relegates sports to the back burner, and in fact has a negative impact on all involved. Despite the efforts of all, be they administrators, coaches, officials or athletes, through the pandemic, this most recent decision to impose restrictions on spectators in outdoor venues, goes to show that sport, in the eyes of the decision-makers, is still at a level of PE lessons held once a week at school.

The fact that one can go to the cinema (indoors), the theatre (indoors), the gym (indoors) as well as any bar, can almost be seen as encouraging people to go everywhere except to the outdoor sporting venues to support their favourite athlete or team – and then we expect our athletes to perform and excel and make our country proud, when they are not taken seriously.

The ASA joins the other sporting bodies in urging the government to reconsider its decision and to treat sport equally and fairly.