The Deputy Commissioner, East Jaintia Hills District informs the general public that the Government of Meghalaya, Sports and Youth Affairs has issued an order allowing the resumption of Football in Meghalaya through Sports Clubs & Association.
He also said that the Sports & Youth Affairs Department, Government of Meghalaya had earlier notified the SOP for Non-contact and Indirect Contact Sporting Activities. The Sports & Youth Affairs Department is conscious of the impact COVID-19 has had on the sports ecosystem in the State specially football and therefore understands that it is crucial to draw up a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for resumption of football activities through the various Sports Clubs and Associations in the State that reassures all stakeholders involved.
Therefore, in order to ensure that all the key stakeholders of the football fraternity in the State follow all the health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Deputy Commissioner has issued the following protocol in continuation to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the resumption of Non-Contact and Indirect-Contact Sports Activities:
This SOP for resumption of football activities through the various Sports clubs and Associations in the State shall be in accordance to the Order of the Home (Political) Department, Government of Meghalaya and the general framework and protocols as stipulated in the SOP for Non-Contact and Indirect-Contact Sporting activities and the State Health Department’s protocols and guidelines on health, social distancing and hygiene.
Furthermore, the Sports Clubs and Associations that wish to resume football training and training related activities should submit an undertaking to the Deputy Commissioner confirming the adherence to the SOP detailed herein and obtain prior permission from the respective Deputy Commissioner.
This SOP is intended solely for Sports Clubs and Associations for the conduct of football training and training related activities only for trainees (18 years-60 years of age), and not for the organization of competitive football or mass congregations. At all times the Sports Clubs and Associations must respond to the directives of the Health Department and other Authorities.
The detection of a COVID-19 case in a Sport Club or Association will result in a standard public health response, which would include testing and quarantine of all the trainees and members of the Sports Clubs and Associations as per the protocols of the Health and Family Welfare Department, the matter should also be brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner.
According to the SOP, the Sports Clubs/ Associations, before training should sanitize sports and exercise equipment regularly. They should appoint a COVID-19 Compliance Officer in conjunction with the Department of Health who will monitor the compliance of the SOP’s and competitive training can take place for all participants, in an outdoor setting provided this takes place in groups of no more than 30 (including coaches) but only if they can be appropriately socially distanced from each other.
During Training, participants should avoid sharing of sports equipment, yoga mats, towels, water bottles etc. Equipment should be handed as little as possible by as few people as possible, avoid touching equipment cones and footballs as much as possible, the focus should be kicking the ball and limiting touching the ball with the hands or head as much as possible. Training Bibs must not be used unless they can be washed between every session and they should not be shared at any point during a session. In all settings before and after the session and in any breaks all participants should practice social distancing in line with Government guidelines.
Training drills and routines which involve close contact and proximity such as defensive drills, man marking drills etc should be avoided as much as possible. No spectators shall be permitted for the training sessions, except members of the Sports Club/Association. Team talk huddles should not take place. Team talks can take place as long as social distancing is observed and held outdoors.
When the ball goes out of play it should not be retrieved by non-participants and should be retrieved using the feet rather than the hands where possible. Where there are breaks in the game, or training, if throw-ins or handing has occurred the ball should be disinfected.
There is an additional risk of infection in close proximity situations where people are shouting or conversing loudly. If possible, trainees/coaches should therefore avoid shouting or raising their voices when facing each other during before and after the training sessions.
After Training,post completion of the sessions the players should be encouraged to leave the venue rather than congregate. All shared equipment should be thoroughly washed and disinfected and clear delegation of the responsibility should be made at the start of the training session.Warm-ups/cool down should always observe social distancing.Coaches are encouraged to maintain a record of the regular cleaning of the club or team equipment that trainees use.
The order also issues SOP for the Venue Owners/Management which states that before training they shouldLimit contact/interactions (one-way systems in buildings and keeping doors open).They should operate safely, charging rooms, club rooms and shower facilities shall be closed. Only access to the toilets shall be made permissible.They should also deploy sufficient housekeeping staff with the adequate sanitation and disinfections in common areas and toilets.Clear signage for one-way systems to manage entry, parking arrangements, traffic flow and general movement around the venue which ensure social distancing can be maintained.
In line with current Health Department guidelines and protocols, all trainees should be checked for symptoms of Covid-19. Any temperature above 38 Degrees Celsius/98 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted to participate in the training sessions and should be reported immediately to the Covid-19 Compliance Officer who will in turn submit report to the concerned Deputy Commissioner for further investigation.
During Training, the Venue Owners/Management should regularly sanitize and disinfect common utilities and fixtures such as doorknobs/handles washrooms toilets etc. After Training they should Sanitize toilet facilities, goal posts, sports equipment and material belonging to the venue management.
The Players/Trainees should practice personal hygiene, hand washing, use of sanitizers. Adequate sleep, proper nutrition of Players/Trainees must be ensured. Carrying of own water bottles with name tags or labels, towels and hand sanitizers, no sharing of any personal items. Trainees should arrive at the venue changed and ready to train.
The Deputy Commissioner has also advised for Covid-19 self-assessment using Arogya Setu App and self-monitoring for symptoms. Submission of duly filled consent form for training as notified in the SOP for Non-Contact and Indirect-Contact Sporting Activities to be collected by the respective Sports Clubs/Associations and submit it to the Deputy Commissioner.
During Training, the players/ trainees should cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, maintaining social distancing throughout the training sessions and trainees should avoid handshakes and high fives. The trainees and members of the Sports Clubs/Associations should refrain from spitting.
All participants must remain socially distanced during breaks in training with spaced areas for equipment and refreshment storage for each individual. Trainees and members of Sports clubs/Association should spread out and avoid sharing a dug out or bench if social distancing cannot be observed. It is recommended that trainees should wear dispensable sanitary gloves during the training sessions.
After the conclusion of the training session, all trainees should immediately wash their hands with liquid soap as per the Health Department Protocols. All training clothing material worn during the session such as jerseys, shorts, socks etc. should be packed into separate bags/containers which are to be brought by the trainees and they should be immediately washed with disinfectants and adequate quantities of detergent. Trainees should leave the venue immediately after cool-down exercises and technical briefings.