The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Council of Ministers- Troika is convening an emergency risk assessment virtual meeting to discuss the devastating effects of COVID 19 on sport in the region. The meeting will zoom in specifically on the impact of the global pandemic on the Region 5 programmes and most particularly the 2020 Region 5 Youth Games scheduled for 4 to 13 December 2020. The Troika is a Management Board of the Council of Ministers of sport in the region and is currently chaired by the Lesotho Minister of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation, Honourable Dr. Mahali Phamotse (MP) and includes Malawi Minister of Youth and Sport, Honourable Francis Phiso and Botswana Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Honourable Tumiso Rakgare.
According to Article 15 of the AUSC region 5 Constitution the Troika takes decisions in between the meetings of Council of Ministers.
Sport is amongst the hardest hit industries in all affected countries, which have duly cancelled, postponed or suspended all scheduled sporting events and activities to minimise the spread of the virus and flatten the infection curve.
Such events as the first Chefs de Mission meeting for the 2020 Region 5 Games, Desk Officers meeting, Women in Sport Committee meeting, Sport for People with Disabilities meeting, Secretariat meeting and Executive Committee meetings which had been pencilled in for the period between 22 March and 7 May have had to be put on ice due to the devastating pandemic.
The proposed Region 5 Marathon scheduled for 16 May in South Africa was also indefinitely postponed with only the Regional Annual Sports Awards scheduled for 23 May in Eswatini having been put on provisional standby pending assessment of the prevailing circumstances.
The AUSC region 5 CEO Stanley Mutoya said that the Troika will assess the risk exposure of the Region, the inherent impact and channel a response strategy in order to ensure business continuity in the wake of the uncertainty and anxiety caused by this pandemic.
“The AUSC Region 5 has an existing risk management policy, and charter which will be used to assess the impact of the inherent impact of the pandemic on business continuity”, Mutoya said. This assessment will be based on a consequence criterion, likelihood criteria and determine the priority for attention by the Region on the treatment or management of the risk. This is in order to mitigate and minimise impact that relates to financial loss, health and safety of sportsmen and sportswomen including spectators, communities and members of the public, programmes uptake by Member Countries, brand reputation and legal and compliance impact in view of guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation and various governments of the Member Countries.
With the current unprecedented circumstances facing sport world-wide and I the Region, there is a huge need for the Troika to make a serious pronouncement to give a sense of comfort, hope and direction for the future of athletes and the industry of sport in the region.
The AUSC Region 5 however wishes to comfort the entire sporting community in the Region to remain calm, respect the instructions and guidelines from governments and be patient under the circumstances.