Sat | Apr 4, 2020

‘Watch and wait mode’ - SDF cautious as it anticipates challenges in planning budget for 2021 sporting calendar

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:25 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Wilks
Wilks

Sports Development Foundation (SDF) general manager Denzil Wilks says the disruption to global and local sports because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will create challenges for the body as it plans for the 2021 calendar.

Many major global sporting events, including the World Athletics Indoor Championships and Tokyo Olympic Games, have been postponed until 2021. This creates a heavier sporting calendar for that year as these games have to be facilitated along with other major events set for that year. This means that the SDF will now probably have to find extra funding in its budget for that year to cover the cost of sending national teams to their various sporting disciplines’ international events.

Wilks says all sectors of the society will suffer in the aftermath of COVID-19 but says that with proper planning and collaboration, they can lessen the impact and even use sports as a driving force to help the nation recover from this ordeal.

“There is going to be an economic downturn,” Wilks said. “The minister of finance actually said it, and we anticipate that. But I wouldn’t want to begin as yet to speculate on how difficult it is going to be. It is going to be a challenge for all sectors right across the spectrum. So at this time, I prefer to stay in a watch and wait mode. We are analysing constantly, and we will do the best we can, but I wouldn’t want to get into too much prognostication for now.

“What is going to determine what is possible is the overall fallout in the economy. If there is an overall fallout, then all sectors are impacted. When that happens, it means that all sectors have reduced allocations and reduced capacity to do what would normally be done, and as far as that is concerned, sport is just one of those many endeavours that will suffer.”

Wilks alluded to track and field coach Ato Boldon, who said that he expects a heavy sporting calendar for the next five years because of the postponement of major sporting events this year, saying that he believes that idea to be very true.

Emerging opportunity

But he thinks sports might be what he sees as the “shining light at the end of the tunnel” as the world looks to overcome the pandemic.

“One of the things is that there may be an opportunity where sports can emerge and may very well emerge as one of the drivers of the recovery process,” he said. “From that perspective, one may have to look more broadly at how sports are funded. We know how it is funded now, but it will be for the captains of industries and the Government to look at how things are distributed. As they look to reboot the economy, sports could play a role where that is concerned, but at this stage, that is all pure speculation.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com

Major international sporting events affected by COVID-19:

World Athletics Indoor Championships

Tokyo Olympic Games

World Athletics Under 20 Championships

FIFA World Cup qualifying

Rugby Sevens World Series

Concacaf Under-17 Women’s ChampionshipConcacaf Nations League

Key sporting events for 2021 (excluding events rescheduled for 2021):

World Athletics Championships

Junior Pan American Games

Special Olympics World Winter Games

Concacaf Gold Cup

Concacaf Nations LeagueFIFA Beach Football World Cup

Rugby Sevens World Series

Rugby League World Cup