Sports Matches Protocols

Sports Matches Protocols

Safe environment, preventive measures, and social distancing

General controls for sports facilities:

  • Hand sanitizers must be distributed (containing 60-80% alcohol) as per the requirements of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and must be placed in prominent places and installed on the walls such as the entrances to the facility, checkpoints, changing rooms, meeting rooms, corridors, and outside restrooms.
  • Must ensure the availability of hand soap in the restrooms and hand sanitizers near the washbasins and entrances to the restrooms.
  • All places and surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water before disinfecting them.
  • Workers and athletic practitioners must pay attention to personal hygiene and washing hands with soap and water for 40 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (contains 60-80% alcohol) for 20 seconds if soap and water are not available.
  • All environmental surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis or every two hours if possible with disinfectants approved by the SFDA and the directions indicated on the packages must be followed (please refer to the instruction guide for cleaning and disinfection).
  • When cleaning surfaces in a sports facility, focus should be placed on the frequently touched surfaces and on places where contact is most likely, such as door handles, goal sides, benches, running track, fitness equipment, seat cushions, elevator keys, and others.
  • Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected continuously every 2 hours throughout the work period. Self-operating faucets are preferred in the restrooms, and a cleaner should be designated to disinfect the restrooms, especially the faucets, sinks and door handles after each use.
  • Emphasis on the usage of new pads and towels for every disinfection process, especially when disinfecting fitness equipment, exercise machines, and tools that are frequently touched or use new tissues if not available.
  • It is preferable to have self-operating doors, and in the event that this is not available, the entrance door and hall doors must always be open to prevent excessive contact with the door handles.
  • A record of the times of cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and toilets should be maintained.
  • Ensure good ventilation in all places, especially gathering places and restrooms. It is preferable to use natural ventilation and reduce the temperature in general and in training halls and meeting rooms in particular. Artificial ventilation can be used in addition to natural ventilation if possible.
  • Change or clean the air filters for ventilation devices, especially air conditioners, periodically.
  • Single-use disposable utensils should be placed in the sports facility, such as spoons and saucers, and special tools for workers and sports practitioners such as drinking cups or towels should also be allocated.
  • Disable all interactive screens or self-service indicative screens, if any.
  • It is preferable to have trash cans and waste baskets that are used with no touching required, and the waste must be disposed of continuously.
  • Items and tools that are commonly shared among sports practitioners such as, water dispensers, coffee makers, food vending machines and others should be removed or disabled.
  • All those inside the facility must wear masks while working inside the sports facility, with the exception of players and referees during the match.
  • The buses for sports practitioners should be disinfected on a daily basis before and after they commute to the sports facility, and it is preferable they transport in their own cars, if possible, to prevent overcrowding.
  • The capacity of the transporting buses must be reduced so that some seats are vacated to ensure social distancing between sports practitioners (please refer to the health requirements guide and protocols regarding buses)
  • Floor stickers should be placed on the floors, to indicate and maintain the safe physical distance among individuals, in the following places:
  • Before the main entrance to the sports facility when waiting for the inspection at the checkpoint.
  • At places of prayer.
  • In the dining areas.
  • At the restroom’s entrances.
  • In the lecture or meeting rooms.
  • During training in the sports halls or gym.
  • In press conference rooms
  • Areas for holding TV interviews for athletes
  • Inside the elevators
  • VAR rooms
  • On the benches – the athletes’ break room.
  • Limit the number of people using elevators, if any, to ensure the application of social distancing within the elevator.
  • It is preferable to stop press and media meetings and limit the meetings of players and coaches through technical means (virtual/online), or to ensure applying the principle of social distancing during the press meeting.
  • Ensure the application of social distancing in sitting on the bench during matches or exercises, while reducing technical, health and sports crews to reduce contact with other people.
  • It is preferable to reduce the movement of sports practitioners between different rooms in the sports facility and confine them to specific rooms.
  • Each sports practitioner must reduce contact with his colleagues in the group and refrain from gatherings inside the facility and be committed to applying the principle of social distancing as much as possible.
  • It is preferable to close the prayer areas or follow the mosques protocols for the application of health requirements.
  • Prevent crowds from attending matches.
  • Prevent celebrations, honoring, and coronations as much as possible.
  • It is preferable to prevent elderly workers or athletes or those suffering from chronic diseases from attending sports facilities if possible.
  • Gatherings must be prevented at the parking lot or the entrances to sports facilities.

During warm-ups before the match:

  • Do not allow any unnecessary members in the facility.
  • The referee’s tools such as the flag, whistle, cards, etc. must be disinfected after each use or prevented if possible.
  • All places subject to disinfection, such as the floors of the fields with non-grass surfaces, the goal sides and ends or the ball net, the balls used, the tennis racket, must be disinfected periodically between matches and after each match.
  • The goal sides and the balls used must be periodically disinfected between the halves and after each match.
  • The coaches, the administrative and medical staff must wear masks at all times.

The Gym at the Sports facility:

  • All training tools and equipment must be disinfected before and after each use.
  • Prevent the use of sports equipment in alternation between participants (rounds).
  • Refrain from providing assistance to others while exercising (such as helping with weight bearing) and prevent participants from gathering when carrying weights.
  • The distance between training machines and sports equipment must be not less than 1.5 meters to ensure that social distancing is maintained.
  • Prevent crowding in the swimming pool by reducing the total capacity of the pool to ensure a safe distance of not less than 1.5 to 2 meters between the trainees.
  • The use of the sauna or steam room, or Jacuzzi bath should be limited to 1 person only per use, and they must be thoroughly disinfected after each use.
  • Players should have towels with them to use when sitting on the machines and sports equipment.
  • Emphasis on adherence to the preventive measures and instructions placed all over the sports club (the number of sports practitioners allowed in the training hall, the distance between sports equipment, the specified distance between the practitioners).
  • Emphasis on players to not share one training machine at the same time.

During Matches:

  • Each team must have a separate entrance.
  • Crowding must be prevented in the entrance corridors to the stadium, changing rooms, and restrooms
  • The number of unnecessary members of each team such as administrators, journalists, and photographers should be reduced.
  • Allocate an area of ​​9 meters for each photographer to ensure social distancing between them.
  • VAR room operators must adhere to wearing masks at all times.
  • Cleaners should be assigned to disinfect the frequently touched surfaces and places where contact is most likely, such as goal sides, benches, and VAR rooms equipment, and they must clean them continuously.
  • Those responsible for collecting balls must always wear masks and disinfect hands when touching the ball. It is preferable to disinfect the ball before returning it to the field.
  • Handshakes and hugs among players during the celebration of scoring goals should be prohibited.
  • The health requirements for meetings with regard to press conferences must be applied according to the meeting protocols issued by the SCDC and the MOH.
  • Prevent players from exchanging shirts with each other after the end of matches.

Monitoring and Reporting:

  • A checkpoint must be situated at all entrances and before the start of sports activities which includes measuring the temperature of all workers and athletes with a device approved by the SFDA and asking about high temperature or any respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath).
  • All workers and sports practitioners must disclose if they have any respiratory symptoms or fever, cough or shortness of breath, and fill out a disclosure form and adhere to the means of protection and safety inside and outside the sports facility.
  • Follow up on the health status of workers and sports practitioners and record their health condition (their temperature and any respiratory symptoms) in a designated record and prevent those who have a high temperature (38C or above) or appear to have any respiratory symptoms from entering the sports facility.
  • Report any case that has a high temperature or respiratory symptoms and is suspected of being infected with Covid-19, identify their information and contact numbers and immediately call 937 to see the required directions to transfer the case to the hospital.
  • Do not allow anyone who has influenza-like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat) to enter the facility or work and they must be isolated until they are examined and their symptoms are disappeared, according to the report of their treating doctor.
  • In the event that there is housing for workers in the mosque, it is preferable to prepare an isolation room for the suspected cases in their residence so that they are isolated until contacted by the competent authorities. (Please see the health conditions for workers’ housing to fight Covid-19)
  • If a confirmed case is registered among workers, the protocols approved by Weqaya Center and the MOH must be applied.
  • Collaborate with the MOH in the process of monitoring cases in contact with the confirmed case so that epidemiological investigation and quarantine procedures are applied in accordance with the procedures followed by the public health team.

Awareness and Communication:

  • Awareness posters must be displayed in prominent places around the sports facility, transfer buses and workers housing, including the following:
  • Introduction to the disease, how it spreads and the preventative measures to be taken.
  • Awareness of handwashing, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth before washing hands, and encourage attention to personal hygiene and health care
  • Adherence to Hygiene and Cough etiquette (by using tissues and throwing them away immediately or coughing into the elbow and washing hands afterwards).
  • It is preferable to place a board containing a statement of the violations and how to report it.
  • Educate the sports practitioners, journalists and all workers about the symptoms of Covid-19 disease through official sources, text messages and all possible means of communication about its means of transmission and its severity, and making them aware of refraining from attending in the event of any respiratory symptoms and the necessity of disclosing fi they feel any symptoms (coughing or shortness of breath).

Implementation:

  • Assign supervisors to ensure the implementation of the protocols for sporting activities and to ensure that all requirements are met in the sports facility.
  • Sports facility officials or their representatives should educate workers and athletes about the symptoms of the disease, its means of transmission and its severity, and they must constantly alert them on the importance of adhering to safety guidelines and applying the principle of social distancing as much as possible.
  • Train officials at checkpoints on the method of test performing and the use of thermometers.
  • Security guards or supervisors must be assigned to prevent gatherings and crowds or the entry of unauthorized persons.
  • It is preferable to equip the medical team to the sports team with specialists in infection and epidemiology control, to ensure that health requirements are applied, if possible.

 

Appendix A: Individuals who are at Higher Risk of Infection

The health controls for suspending attendance at workplaces during the Covid-19 pandemic shall be attached to the medical reports of the below Health Conditions:

  • Those over the age of 65 years
  • Chronic lung disease, or severe asthma:

For those who have been admitted to the hospital at least once in the past six months.

  • Chronic heart diseases:

– Heart muscle failure.

– Coronary artery disease with at least having one heart attack during the past year.

  • Inherited Immunodeficiency diseases
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency:

1. Acquired immunodeficiency disease

2. Use of immunosuppressive drugs.

3. Use of cancer treatment drugs.

  • Obesity:

BMI 40>kg/m2

  • Chronic medical conditions:

4. Uncontrolled diabetes, which necessitated admission to the hospital at least once during the past six months

5. High blood pressure disease, which required admission to the hospital at least once during the past six months

6. Kidney failure (dialysis)

7. Cirrhosis.

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The wonderful integration between all government agencies throughout this crisis was lead by a distinguished leader who works tirelessly. He created a team that works with the highest measures of synchrony and quality, keeping the citizen their main priority.
Tawfiq Al Rabiah
Minister of Health

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