The Cambodian Government has ordered a temporary ban of all sports activities and gatherings in the Kingdom to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
This was announced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) in a press release issued on April 7. The MoEYS is the Government agency that governs all sports activities in the Kingdom.
“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports proposes a temporary suspension of all sports activities,” it said.
The ban covers all sports activities and gatherings in both public and private spaces.
The MoEYS did not give a timeline, saying only that it will be in effect ‘until the pandemic situation is over’.
The sports ban comes after the MoEYS ordered the temporary closure of gyms and sports clubs and banned sports gatherings of more than 10 people in response to the escalating health crisis. Prior to that, the MoEYS temporarily stopped the training of all Cambodian national team athletes.
The latest ban will likely affect the few sports tournaments and related activities that are still going on amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.
The daily training run by the Cricket Association of Cambodia (CAC) at the Cricket Centre of Excellence in Boeung Tumpun are among these. There are also some teams in the Metfone Cambodia League (MCL) that continue field training, albeit on a limited scale and with participants practicing social distancing.
Informed of the ban, Manish Sharma, CEO of CAC, said they have no choice but to follow the Government directive.
“We will also stop training,” he said.
Yusuke Shinoda, general manager of Angkor Tiger football club in Siem Reap, said it is not easy, especially for people who love football, but everyone needs to follow the Government’s decision as it is for the common good.
“I hope the situation will improve soon and everyone will get to enjoy football again,” he said.
Cambodian sports has already been severely disrupted by the Coronavirus outbreak even before the ban, with most events and activities postponed or cancelled altogether.
The latest sports activities to be postponed include the 3rd National Games.
Cambodia’s participation in international sports competitions like the Mekong River Friendship Basketball Tournament, 2022 World Cup qualifying, AFC Cup 2020, SEABA Championship, Homeless World Cup 2020 and cricket friendlies in Singapore have also been affected.
In Southeast Asia, Cambodia is not alone in instituting strict measures in sports to combat the spread of the fatal virus. In Thailand, provincial governors were empowered by the national government to close the places where people congregate, including gyms and other sports venues.
The Coronavirus pandemic, which has shown little sign of abating, has already infected more than 1.4 million people globally, with more than 80,000 deaths recorded so far. In Cambodia, there are 115 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.