Get in line
JAAA president says athletes have no choice but to accept US vax demands to compete at World Champs
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle says that the impending changes regarding travel to the United States (US) will require them to adapt to ensure that all standards are met before competing there. The US...
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle says that the impending changes regarding travel to the United States (US) will require them to adapt to ensure that all standards are met before competing there.
The US government announced plans yesterday requiring visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are to be granted entry to the country. The measure is a part of changes to their travel policy which will take effect in November, replacing existing restrictions on foreign travel to the US.
The measures, which have yet to be fully outlined, could impact the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next year, as well as any other sporting events to take place in the country.
“As a Jamaican, and in regard to athletics and sports, this is also being required of sportsmen and women,” Gayle told The Gleaner. “So we will have to follow the immigration authorities in each country we would have had to compete in.”
However, Gayle says that he does not foresee any difficulties regarding national team selection for the Championships, confirming that a good number of senior athletes have taken a vaccine.
“The majority of Jamaican athletes, and especially those who are on the circuit and just completed [their seasons on the circuit], are all fully vaccinated so this shouldn’t be an issue or challenge for us as we work towards Eugene in 2022,” Gayle said. We will encourage our athletes to operate in a safe environment and if there are those to whom there will be a concern, then we will address them accordingly.”
It is a change that attorney-at-law Linton Gordon says may not leave sporting associations with many choices regarding how they select their teams as they have to ensure that they are legally about to enter the country that they are competing in.
“All countries are entitled to set conditions precedent to your entering in their borders and gaining access to their jurisdictions,” he said. “So whatever rules and regulations that the Americans set out, that must be met in order to visit or to get into their country, you either meet them or you don’t go.
“Even if the Jamaican authorities would like them to participate and they are not vaccinated, there is nothing Jamaica can do because we cannot dictate to the United States or any other countries. If they have set standards as a precedent to your entering their country, this has nothing to do with a policy by the Jamaican Government or the administrators of the athletes, or the organisation that the athletes belong to.”
Jamaica Football Federation Vice President Raymond Anderson said that the administration would have to meet to discuss how the new requirement will impact their travel to tournaments or matches in the United States. The new rules will not impact Jamaica’s World Cup qualifying game against the United States on October 7 in Austin, Texas, as the rules would take effect the following month.