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Should City of Phoenix prohibit large sports tournaments? Parents, councilmembers discuss

Posted at 5:32 PM, Nov 27, 2020

PHOENIX — After a six-hour car ride from Fullerton, California, Miguel Arevalo, #8 on the scorecard, was busy warming up with his teammates before their match at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.

His team, the Fullerton Rangers, is one of 500 boys and girls soccer teams playing in Phoenix over the weekend for the 2020 Desert Super Cup Tournament.

It’s a big deal for the kids. It’s also a big concern for many in Phoenix who see it not as a soccer tournament, but as a potential COVID-19 super-spreader event.

“I think concerns are going to be there,” said Miguel’s mom, Cynthia Arevalo. “I tell everybody it’s going to be up to us to take the C.D.C. guidelines as the new norm into practice.”

“Without having the right public health advice, the plan is not well thought out," said Phoenix City Councilman Carlos Garcia.

On September 2nd, Phoenix City Councilman Carlos Garcia was a "no" vote when the council decided to allow city parks to host large sports events.

At the time, COVID-19 cases were high in his district. Now they’re high across the city.

“People have obvious concerns about this,” said Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio. He believes the city has done an amazing job hosting the event.

At the soccer tournament, signs were posted reminding attendees to social distance from one another and to wear a mask. City employees were also on-site to make sure that those rules were being followed.

“As far as we have seen, they have done what they can to make it a safe environment and make it safe for the kids and all the parents,” said Eric Begazo, of Peoria, as he was leaving for the day with his son, Matteo.

Councilman DiCiccio said the concerns he gets from constituents is not about what happens on the field, but what happens after the game is over.

“You cannot control what occurs off the playing field. They’re on the playground maybe two, maybe three hours and you got the additional 21 hours to make up,” DiCiccio said.

While he opposes it, DiCiccio believes there is a good chance that a majority of the City Council will vote to suspend hosting these large sports events until COVID-19 cases drop to a safer level.

“If you really wanted to have an impact, you would go out there and say we're going to look at every facet of the City of Phoenix,” DiCiccio said. “The mayor (Kate Gallego) has the executive power to do it. But to just pick on outdoor activities, pick on kids is irresponsible.”