Return to Training: What the directives entails

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While the SAFA/PSL Joint Liaison Committee (JLC) await final confirmation from the Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa to officially resume with training, FARPost has gotten hold of the directives proposed by the NSL to its member clubs.

The PSL had intended to allow clubs to resume training as of today (Wednesday, 17 June), subject to the Ministers’ approval of the ‘The Return to Training Directive’ proposal document.

While giving the green light for football to resume training under lockdown level 3, the Minister had given the League and other sports bodies 14 days to inform the Minister in writing as to the date of resumption and to provide an operational guideline.

Here are some of the Health and Safety directives guidelines proposed by the PSL;

Prior to Returning to Training

Teams and all participants will, prior to commencing training, provide proof of Polymerase Chain Reaction COVID-19 testing (one test at least two days and at most seven days prior to resumption of training).  Teams must ensure all necessary precautions have been taken by players and staff to mitigate contracting the virus at least 14 days prior to resumption of training.

All persons (including players and staff) must have done pre-training medicals prior to resuming training.  Any chronic medical conditions must be identified, reported and appropriate medical treatment must be implemented.

Any person/s excluded by the screening process or who tests positive (COVID-19 test) will not be permitted to resume training. 

Logistics and Equipment

All participants must wear masks (save for players when they are playing or training) and should shower at home or their accommodation.

Personal/team towels dedicated to each participant must be washed at home each day.

Each player must also receive his own water bottle – this should also be washed and cleaned by them.  Besides soap and water, Milton’s is a good option.

All gym equipment and change rooms must be thoroughly cleaned with appropriate cleansers/disinfectants prior to training and after training.

Hand sanitisers must be available at the training venue (entrance/exits, fieldside) and must be at least 70% alcohol-based.

Balls should be washed with soap and water/appropriate sanitiser prior to and after training sessions.

Ice baths are prohibited save at players’ homes or accommodation.

Compulsory Screening

-Each Member Club must have a health officer who is responsible for ensuring that the guidelines are adhered to.

-Member Clubs must use the screening questionnaire daily prior to arrival at work (all staff) – coordinated by the health officer.

On-Field Training, Pools and Gym

Member Clubs will ensure proper sanitisation is available and physical distancing is promoted.

-There will be no pre-training or other huddle or physical contact

-Masks do not need to be worn by players during training sessions but must be worn by all other staff including players when not actually training.

There will be a graded approach to training. It is pertinent that each team also utilises the relief of training restrictions to the different risk adjustment strategies by government to their advantage to begin a progressive load. Specific team conditioning and periodization will be the task of each teams physical trainer/physio/biokineticist:  Week One: staggered sessions with maximum of five outfield players (excluding goalkeepers) – all non-contact; Week Two: Staggered sessions with maximum of 10 in two groups outfield players (excluding goalkeepers) – minor contact (e.g., 5 v 5 drills).

Pre-Training Medical Compliance

The following documents are required to be accurately completed and timeously handed in by each participating Member Club prior to training: – A Declaration  that players and staff have been duly educated and tested regarding:  the Corona Virus and its effects and the disease of COVID-19; respiratory hygiene; hand washing hygiene; social and physical distancing and PCR testing for COVID-19.

League Compliance

No media interviews will be conducted physically – if there are to be interviews the use of technology using telephonic and video interviews is encouraged.

-No sponsor activations will be permitted before, during, or after training sessions.

Furthermore, all the 32 PSL clubs are mandated to amongst others to designate, in writing, a health and safety representative, or representatives (having regard to the number of employees) at the workplace and any failure to comply will be considered gross insubordination, and will result in disciplinary proceedings.

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By Ofhani Munyai

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