THE Ministry of Sports, Youth and National services is currently in talks with the Social Security Commission (SSC) to recognise sports clubs as businesses as they have largely been left out in the cold with little to no relief benefits to cushion the impact of COVID-19.
This was revealed by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Emma Kantema-Gaomas at a sectorial on the update on the impact of COVID-19 on sports.
Kantema-Gaomas stated that in addition to conducting talks with the SSC, the ministry is also in the process of reviewing the sports and recreation policy.
“We need to look at the provision on social protection, especially for youth athletes. We are looking at insurance, pension, as well as a relief fund for this sector. In addition, we will work in conjunction with the sports commission to ensure that sports club work in line with regulations. Contact sports, however, are still not allowed under the current lockdown regulations,“ Kantema-Gaomas stated.
She further added that athletes may also apply for the N$750 according to the criteria set by the ministry of finance.
“The sports professionalisation framework has been affected, which has had an impact on the socio-economic activities of sports. School sports have also not been active. We have gone a step back to put in projects which can revive this sector” Kantema-Gaomas said.
The Secretary General of the Namibia National Olympics committee and Namibia Commonwealth Games Association, Jean Smit, also commenting on the subject, stated that the impact of COVID-19 has been greatly bene felt with the cancellation of a multitude of international, as well as local, games.
“This was an Olympic year. Some athletes qualified for the Olympic games. Both junior and elite athletes were in the preparation for qualifying for the Olympic games, however, all these games have been postponed. Youth common wealth games for next year has especially affected youth athletes. African qualifiers for trampoline and tumbling for Africa was to be hosted by Namibia. The impact was huge, we trust and hope that we can get over this soon.m,” Smit stated.
She added that high profile competitions such as AFCON qualifiers also impacted on the income of athletes both for men and women.
With regard to a revival plan, Smit stated that safeguarding coaches and sportsmen and women is priority and that the situation requires everyone to do their part.
“We continue to rely on World Health Organisation guidance from international federations, as well as government and local sport commissions,” Smit concluded.