Coronavirus: UAE suspends all activities for sportspeople aged 18 and under

General Authority of Sports stops training and competition

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 07 JANUARY 2020. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY. The U19 UAE Cricket Team playes against Scotland at the ICC Academy in Sports City. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Paul Radley. Section: Sport.
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The UAE General Authority of Sports has suspended all activities for sportspeople aged 18 and under.

The decision was confirmed on Thursday night to cancel “all trainings and competitions” across “all clubs, academies and public places nationwide”.

It is part of the precautionary measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus.

The statement also indicated that all sporting activities will be contested without fans in attendance.

“An official approval from the General Authority of Sports and sports councils concerned is a precondition to host any championship or a training camp where sports teams from abroad are to participate in order to ensure all public health protocols are in place,” the governing body said in a statement.

“The same approvals are a precondition as well to participate in any official championship outside the country.

“All necessary preventative and safety measures must be ensured, including sterilisation of all sports facilities in general and private clubs.”

The decision to suspend all sport for children ends the confusion that had been felt in recent days.

A group of leading grassroots sports providers in Dubai had opted to call off their activities for U18s last Monday night, after informal discussions with the Dubai Sports Council related to health and safety measures.

However, in the absence of an official directive, some other prominent academies continued to operate.

The uncertainty caused some friction within the industry, with many being low-margin businesses with high costs who will find a loss in income difficult to bear.

In Abu Dhabi, too, children’s sport had already been limited after the health and safety procedures put in place last week.

On Thursday, March 5, Abu Dhabi Sports Council had issued a directive to clubs in the emirate to suspend all sports events, albeit with some caveats.

Some activities were allowed to continue, but the council made the decision to “cease all sports activities for Under 12 teams of all sports clubs in Abu Dhabi”.

That suspension has now been expanded to involve everyone up to the age of 18, and relates to all sport nationwide.