FIFA to prioritise health and safety over football

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World Football governing body FIFA has sounded a warning that the game will be quite different until a cure is found for coronavirus.

The organization has released a risk assessment tool to aid its 211 member associations and six continental confederations to enhance a safe return to football amid the pandemic.

Football leagues around the world are gradually resuming action after being suspended for more than two months although all games will be behind closed doors alongside strict testing and social distancing procedures.

FIFA has released a document in conjunction with the World Health Organization, UEFA, FIFPRO, the European Club Association, the European Leagues, and the World Leagues Forum, which contains a checklist of requirements and protocols that must be put in place.

The document read: “Protecting the health and well-being of every individual globally remains of paramount importance to FIFA.

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“It is important that the following measures continue to be advocated: enhanced hygiene, physical distancing, healthy lifestyle choices, eating well, and avoiding non-essential travel.

“Planning for a safe return to football must start now given the health, social and economic benefits of the game globally.

“Football governing bodies must come together to cautiously and methodically prepare for a post-pandemic return to footballing activities. Until a vaccine is developed for Covid-19, the team environment will be quite different.

“Every person involved in a football team or game will have the responsibility to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

A statement added: “The aim of this joint effort is to consider the health of all participants in footballing activities, the risk assessments and the factors that need to be in place in order for football, both at a professional and at an amateur level, to resume safely.

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“The recommendations of the group are meant to be implemented in conjunction with international and national guidance on public health and mass gatherings.

“Football governing bodies are encouraged to liaise with the relevant public health authorities and to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment to determine whether it is safe to proceed.

“The important guiding principle is that the resumption of footballing activities should not compromise the health of individuals or the community.

“Furthermore, the return to play should be based on objective health information to ensure that activities are conducted safely and do not risk increased local Covid-19 transmission rates.”

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