Esports

"We are an essential service": Catalan sport raises its voice

Demonstration at Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona demands sporting activity to resume

A demonstrator holds up a placard / FRANCESC MELCION

The sports sector held a demonstration this Wednesday in Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona to claim that sport is an essential service and part of the solution in the fight against coronavirus. Federations, clubs, companies, facilities managers, university sport and professional associations have called for the direct involvement of sport in the improvement of health, education and training and social inclusion.

The organisers read a manifesto, where they demanded that sport be considered an essential service. They also held a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the pandemic.

"We are facing a situation of social alarm"

Anan Pruna,  President of Indescat

"Behind the facilities, the events, the services and any sports activity, there is a whole industry, a sports business network where more than 80,000 people work. We are facing a situation of social alarm, the jobs of thousands of people and families are being put at risk. What family survives on furlough for over six months? Right now there are more than 55,000 workers affected, and 25,000 who will lose their jobs. Many companies will not survive and will have to close down. More than 213 million euros of income has already been lost. The impact is unsustainable," said Anna Pruna, president of sport industry entity Indescat.

"We have pushed this campaign because of a number of factors that force us to position ourselves and to let society know about it. We are an essential service, as amply demonstrated by scientific evidence. And we want to this and everything that comes with it to be recognised. We want the practice of physical activity to be made possible, both for the people who receive it and for the professionals who teach it. We do not understand that sports facilities and professionals cannot work when we are not the problem, but part of the solution to the pandemic that affects us," argues Pere Manuel, president of Coplefc, the Association of Professionals of Physical Activity and Sport of Catalonia.

An ongoing resource

The sports sector lodged an appeal at the High Court of Justice of Catalonia against resolution SLT/2700/2020 of 29 October of the Catalan government's ministers of health and the interior, which extended and modified the public health measures to contain the epidemic outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic in Catalonia.

The response of the TSJC has been delayed because it is consulting whether it is within the competence of the Supreme Court, given that the sports sector is appealing against a resolution based on a state royal decree.

The UFEC is  collecting of signatures against the measures; over 80,000 have signed.

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