Thinley Namgay  

As per the new protocol set up by the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), all sporting tournaments across the country will resume, starting today.

To stop unnecessary gathering, BOC had temporarily deferred all the tournaments until the end of February.

The protocol was developed in consultation with all national sports federations (NSFs) and sports associations (SAs).

The tournaments will be held behind closed doors, and only players, team officials, security personnel and media are allowed at the venue.

As per the new protocol, NSFs and SAs in Thimphu should get approval from BOC to organise tournaments, which BOC itself will monitor.  Private individuals in Thimphu must first obtain permission from NSF to conduct the tournament.

Regarding the tournaments organised by NSFs and SAs in other dzongkhags, they have to be endorsed by BOC and the dzongkhag Covid-19 task force.  The dzongkhag Covid-19 task force will monitor the tournament.  According to the protocol, individuals, who wish to organise tournaments, have to route through the respective dzongkhag Covid-19 task force.

Team officials are not allowed to visit dressing rooms at any time. “All NSFs organisers must have designated Covid-19 focal person, who must have some level of training in Covid-19 safety and precautionary protocols,” stated the new protocol.

BOC’s head of sports research and development division, Namgay Wangchuk, said that none of the federations has applied for the tournaments except three private individuals, who applied to conduct football tournaments.

The government permitted all sporting activities without spectators until 11pm yesterday. “From now onwards, there’ll be no restrictions on the number of players,” Namgay Wangchuk said.

Failure to comply with the protocol will result in the cancellation of the tournament and the organiser will be blacklisted.  Those breaching the protocol will be reported to the national Covid-19 task force for necessary action.