Sports bodies campaign to reopen safe live events, clubs

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              FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2019 file photo, Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather speeds down the course as a banner advertising the ski world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo is seen in the background, during an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy. The Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) announced Sunday, May 24, 2020 that it would like to postpone next year’s Alpine skiing world championships in Cortina until March 2022 in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened due to the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta, file)
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GENEVA (AP) — A group of sports governing bodies have teamed up to help local governments and policy makers speed up the safe return of live competitions and reopening of grassroots venues.

The governing bodies for skiing, basketball and ice hockey were among those who helped launch the Sport4Recovery campaign Thursday. They are offering to help governments and health officials come up with suitable protocols that protect athletes, officials and spectators as the pandemic lockdown eases.

“We are at their disposal,” International Ski Federation (FIS) secretary general Sarah Lewis said. “This expertise is in place and communication with the necessary authorities already exists.”

The campaign wants to help pave the way for organized sports events to return, and support local authorities in opening grass-roots facilities safely for their communities.

A key step is easing travel and accommodation restrictions for athletes and fans as many sports prepare to start their seasons in September and onward into the European winter.

“This campaign is trying to align messages across the continent,” said Patrick Comninos, chief executive of the Basketball Champions League overseen by the sport’s governing body FIBA.

“This is a very dynamic environment. Every week we get different information about what is required in a specific country,” Comninos said.

Lewis said the new campaign group aims to give “compelling reasons and arguments that sport can be trusted and be a leader and role model” to help communities emerge from the pandemic.