Ahead of the Champions League and Europa League knockout matches that begin this week, European soccer governing body UEFA has released a document with a list of protocols for the return to competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protocols will also apply to international matches that are scheduled to be played this year.
“Non-respect of such social norms could have serious consequences for the staging of international matches,” UEFA said.
Following are the rules teams and officials must adhere to:
* For matches played behind closed doors, access will be granted to only players, club staff, match officials, accredited media and necessary stadium staff.
* The maximum number of people allowed inside the stadium will depend primarily on its size and restrictions imposed by the local government. Stadium staff should be limited to an “absolute minimum”.
* Stadiums will be divided into four zones (Zone 1: pitch and benches, Zone 2: pitch surroundings, Zone 3: tribunes and stadium interior and Zone 4: stadium exterior).
* No more than 120 people are allowed at a time in Zone 1, and no more than 100 people (including the teams) in Zone 2.
* Each team must appoint a medical liaison officer, preferably the team doctor, to ensure testing protocols and requirements are fulfilled.
* Each team must also appoint a protocol compliance officer to ensure travel, accommodation and hygiene and distancing measures are respected. The officer will travel with the team on away trips.
* Host teams must appoint a hygiene officer to liaise with authorities in reviewing and implementing protocols at the stadium.
* A minimum distance of 2 metres must be observed when social distancing at stadiums (or never less than local guidelines).
* Players have been advised against swapping shirts after the game.
* Club squads and staff will be tested two or three days before an away trip while the home team will be tested one or two days before the match.
* Teams may be tested again the day before the match if required by the local authorities.
* UEFA will receive test results and they should also be delivered to the medical liaison officer 6 hours before kickoff.
* UEFA has recommended teams take charter flights in fully disinfected planes to minimise contact with the public and stay at hotels exclusively reserved for the visiting team.
* For stays during longer tournaments, teams must ensure their laundry is handled by one of their own staff instead of hotel staff.
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