PUTRAJAYA: The entire sports ecosystem has been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic where nearly 2,000 sports-related businesses ceased operations last year, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

The Prime Minister said from Jan 1 to Dec 31 last year, 1,968 sports-related businesses ceased operations due to the lack of working capital, and the inability to cover operation costs, among others.

“Most of these businesses are promoters, sport event organisers, retail sporting goods businesses, fitness centres, as well as sports instructors,” he said when launching the National Sports Day 2021 on Saturday (Oct 9).

To help the affected sports industry players, Ismail Sabri said back on July 5, the Youth and Sports Ministry had announced a few initiatives including the Prihatin Belia & Sukan.

“These initiatives were realised through the Ministry’s efforts in providing value and by supporting the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih) aid package,” he said, adding that the standard operating procedures for the sports and leisure sector formulated in the National Recovery Plan was one of its early initiatives to ensure that the activities in this sector were allowed to resume.

Since all sports and recreational activities were allowed to resume on Sept 9, Ismail Sabri said this has allowed sports activities to be back in full swing.

“I was informed in the past month that the total participation in sports activities has risen to more than 1.4 million participants,” he said.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu during a press conference said the ministry together with the Finance Ministry are finding ways to help these sporting businesses that have been badly affected.

“We are looking for ways how we can help them to restart their business or for those who still have their businesses on how to help them to go back to their previous momentum,” he said.

Ahmad Faizal said they were looking to help them at the upcoming Budget 2022.

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