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CAF recommends nine protocols for associations to restart competitions

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African football ruling body (CAF) has sent out nine conditions member associations must meet before resuming competitions at all levels.

In a communiqué issued yesterday, CAF said the conditions were arrived at after series of meetings involving various arms of the body, including its Development Division, Medical Committee, Technical and Development Committee as well as Men and Women Elite Instructors.

Citing the developments in the spread and control of COVID-19 across the continent and the rest of the world as necessitating the meetings to decide the future of competitions, CAF added, “It is in this regard that the CAF Medical Committee in collaboration with the Technical & Development Department and a team of experts has put together a comprehensive plan to guide the Member Associations (MA’s) on the restart of football activities on the continent.” 

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The plan highlights effective and continuous medical assessment (testing) of players and officials, guidelines for training sessions, disinfection of sporting facilities, as well as strict adherence to the global preventive protocols.

The recommendations include (one) Gathering all the teams in a city(in one place) and this until the end of the championship; (two) Each team must be made up of 23 players, 10 members of the technical and medical staff; (three) Match officials, the media and all those who work in the stadiums during the match will all have to take the test (Ball boys); (four) Mask ports for substitutes and supervisors on the sidelines; (five) No press conference except flash interviews for players; and (six) Flash interviews to be conducted respecting the physical distancing of two metres and more.

CAF also recommended that every member association should (seven) ban exchange of shirts; (eight) accept the use of five substitutes, drinking break 30 and 75 minutes and discourage spitting on the field; and (nine) ensure the federations have the means to guarantee the tests.

“This comprehensive document is a major step towards resuming football on the continent. Based on recent developments, it is important we have a plan in place to guide our stakeholders on the return of continental and domestic competitions, and the need for an all hands on deck approach.

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It warned that “this recommendation is not to encourage member associations and their professional clubs to resume, at all costs, the course of their competitions, men and women, women, while continuing prevail, to varying degrees around the world and across our continent, one of the most devastating pandemics of our time.

“It is our responsibility to anticipate all eventualities and to consider the risk assessments and factors that must be in place for professional football to eventually be able to resume safely.

“This can only happen at a time when the health, social and economic benefits outweigh the risks associated with COVID-19 while maximising the safety of athletes, staff, supporters and society in general.

It is also the view of CAF that football activities are secondary to the well-being of those who wish to participate. The health of footballers (mental and physical) across our continent and the world is essential and should constitute the ethics of all decision-making regarding the reintroduction of football activities.

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