IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SPORTS GOVERNANCE – WHAT NEXT?, A PRESENTATION OF THE HON. MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORTS MR. SUNDAY DARE TO A ZOOM MEETING OF MAY 24-25, 2020 ON “THE FUTURE OF SPORTS IN AFRICA-POST COVID-19?:

Home » Press Release » IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SPORTS GOVERNANCE – WHAT NEXT?, A PRESENTATION OF THE HON. MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORTS MR. SUNDAY DARE TO A ZOOM MEETING OF MAY 24-25, 2020 ON “THE FUTURE OF SPORTS IN AFRICA-POST COVID-19?:

Corona Virus (COVID-19) was first reported to WHO Head Office in China on December, 31, 2019. It was then classified as pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan Province in China.
The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. Thereafter, it was given a name – Corona Virus, Covid-19 by the WHO on February 11, 2020. From Wuhan province in China, it has gradually spread to almost all the countries of the world today.
Nigeria confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 27, 2020. The Federal Government thereafter, announced a lockdown in two states and the FCT effective March 31, 2020. And other states followed suit with their staggered and partial lockdowns.
There is no gainsaying that it has affected the sporting community as stadia across the world are now under locks and keys. Sporting activities have been suspended; many countries are going into economic recession as the pandemic has a debilitating effect on economic activities.
Nigeria was already qualifying Sports and athletes for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games before the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as, the country being a few days to the hosting of the 20th National Sports Festival in Benin City, Edo State. In the wake of the pandemic, all National Sports Federations in Nigeria suspended their programmes and activities. With the lockdown, this governance structure has been greatly affected, as much as sporting activities have been put on hold.
With the pandemic, athletes across our nation have had to sit at home and do indoor training to keep fit. The league matches in all sports have been also suspended. Many athletes/players are now been owed their salaries and allowances. T
Another critical impact of the pandemic will be job cuts and losses in the Sports sector. Most athletes and Coaches are employed by Sports Councils in the States, which are battling with a massive reduction in their revenues. Sports sponsors and philanthropists whose financial fundamentals have been affected by the pandemic may be forced to withdraw their support to sports or scale down their activities in sports.
There is no doubt that the impact of COVID-19 on the sport sector will necessitated a paradigm shift in the governance of sport in the country. Sports Administrators are now challenged to think beyond the box and look into how to sustain sector in the COVID-19 era. It will no longer be business as usual.
The world is forced to accepting brand new habits and adhering strictly to them for the purposes of safety and preventing the further spread of the virus.
What next? There are basic issues that need to be addressed in the sports sector with the COVID-19 pandemic: 1. What will be the structure of National Sports Federations? 2. How will National Sports Federations deliver on their mandates? 3. How do we bring sports back to where it was before COVID-19? 4. How does the sports sector get funding for its activities? 5. How do you sustain fans and spectators interests in their sports of choice? 6. How do you bring sports from a mass spectator activity to television and the digital space activity?
As a way of moving forward, National Sports Federations should be composed of members who have ICT and digital skills that can run their operations using the vehicle of the internet.
National Sports Federation programmes especially the training of our athletes, coaches, technical officials, sports scientists, etc., have to be through the use of electronic media.
National Sports Federations are now challenged to bring sports contents to the television and digital space such that fans and spectators can continue to enjoy their passion and at the same time paying for it from the comfort of their homes.
The governance structure of sports in post COVID-19 era should look into establishing partnership with telecommunication companies and broadcast organisations in order to deliver sport to a mass audience in the comfort of their homes.
With the continuous advocacy on compliance to the COVID-19 protocol by the use of face masks, observing the 2-meter physical distancing rule, frequent washing of hands with soap and water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, Sports can gradually return back to our stadia and recreational centres.
The Ministry, in partnership with the National Economic Summit Group was in the process of reviewing the National Sports Policy to infuse the business potentials into it before the outbreak of the Corona Virus.
Sports governance in the COVID-19 era has to accommodate digital solutions in our sports delivery. Now is the time for the Federal Ministry, the State Ministries, and Sports Councils to continuously provide digital education for Athletes, Coaches and Sports Administrators and other athletes support staff across the country.
Nigeria athletes now need to be trained on the use of smartphones to access information, training, practical skill development, anti-doping lectures and ethical conducts in their chosen sports and events.
In conclusion, Physical meetings and lectures are no longer feasible in the COVID-19 era but rather online education. Thank You.

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