PRAGUE (AFP, REUTERS) – The Czech football league and other sports competitions will resume under strict hygiene conditions after a three-week suspension due to the coronavirus spread, the health minister said on Monday (Nov 2).
“For professional athletes, sports are a job and we want to allow them to get back to work,” Health Minister Jan Blatny told reporters.
The government suspended all professional sports competitions and training indoors as of Oct 12 as the Czech Republic showed the worst Covid-19 figures in Europe. The move led indoor sports clubs to look for training venues abroad, while several ice hockey clubs shared an outdoor rink near Prague.
Only a handful of international events, including a WTA tennis tournament in the eastern city of Ostrava, have been granted an exemption.
However, Britain has withdrawn from this month’s European Judo Championships in Prague due to concerns about athlete safety during the pandemic, the British governing body said.
Natalie Powell, who in 2017 became the first female British judoka to be ranked world No. 1, was part of the 18-member team that had been set to take part in the Nov 19-21 event.
“This decision was not taken lightly, however, the health and safety of our team members and their families is paramount,” British Judo said in a statement.
The country of 10.7 million people still tops the European Union in terms of new deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. It reported on average nearly 12,000 cases a day over the last week.
But the overall growth in Covid-19 infections started to slow down last week.
All Czech competitions will be played behind closed doors until further notice.