Sat | Nov 28, 2020

No league without bubble – Mansingh, Wright

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2020 | 2:36 PMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Mount Pleasant’s Kevaughn Isaacs (right) gets a toe to the ball ahead of Molynes United’s Tyrique Wilson during a National Premier League match at the Constant Spring Sports Complex on Sunday, December 15, 2019.
Mount Pleasant’s Kevaughn Isaacs (right) gets a toe to the ball ahead of Molynes United’s Tyrique Wilson during a National Premier League match at the Constant Spring Sports Complex on Sunday, December 15, 2019.
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Sports medicine experts Dr Akshai Mansingh and Dr Paul Wright say that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will only be granted permission from the Ministry of Health and Wellness for the start of this season’s National Premier League if the competition is played in a biosecure bubble.

Both men made their comments after the Ministry of Health recently turned down the JFF’s proposals for the restart of the league for a second time last week.

“There are a few things that you will have to recognise, and number one, Jamaica is going through a community spread, and what that really means is that anybody is capable of carrying the disease and spreading it amongst others,” Mansingh said.

HIGH-RISK SPORT

“The next thing that you need to recognise is that football is a high-risk sport, and if you are going to play, the only way that you are going to play it safely is in what is called a biosecure bubble, where everybody is being tested and isolated from the community.”

However, Mansingh said that it was going to be very difficult for all the teams to be in a bubble until the end of the season, which culminates in May and, he suggested that the JFF establish what he called a “rolling bubble”.

“This means that you can put three of four teams in a bubble and let them isolate and let them prove that they are safe and players don’t see each other, and then you bring another four teams into a bubble, and you do the same, and you rotate the bubble,” he explained.

No football has been played domestically since the JFF cancelled last season in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The JFF has set a start date for November 14 for the upcoming season.

Wright said the country has now entered into the community spread of the virus and that it made no sense to have a competition of this magnitude if it was not going to be played in a bubble.

“They have to have a bubble because the people who are involved in it can’t be playing football and then going home on public transport and coming back because they are going to be reinfected, so you have to find a way to keep in a bubble,” Wright said.

“I think that if you cannot have that throughout the league, then you can’t restart the league because the risk of those asymptomatic people who are negative at the start, going home to their communities that have a surge and are coming back to training or to games, will be a major problem.”

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com