Several international athletes have been permitted to take part in sports competitions in the United States in the coming weeks amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, has signed an order that will exclude some foreign athletes, along with their important staff and dependents, from an entry ban imposed due to the coronavirus crisis.
“Professional sporting events provide much-needed economic benefits, but just as important, they provide community pride and national unity,” Wolf said in a statement. “In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work.”
Leagues covered by exceptions include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Women’s Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers Association, the Women’s Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Professional Tennis Association, and the Women’s Tennis Association.
Countries and territories affected by liberation include Britain, Ireland, China, Iran, and 26 European countries comprising the Schengen Region.
This move will primarily benefit global sports such as golf and tennis, each of which has major upcoming tournaments that have been rescheduled from their early spring and early summer schedules, and have a very high percentage of non-Americans consisting of bases their players.
But that also means that US-based athletes who returned to their home countries during the health crisis can now return to America. These include Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who flew home in a private jet to Slovenia after the National Basketball Association closed in March.
It is not clear what this means for sports organizations that are not registered by the Department of Homeland Security.
A number of golfers have announced that they will not initially compete on the PGA Tour due to a health crisis, including Australian Adam Scott, and Englishmen Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood.
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