Eyeing resumption of sporting events in the coming months, the Sports Ministry has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which allow 50 per cent attendance in venues while prescribing formation of COVID-19 Task Force by organisers of each competition. The circular issued by the Sports Ministry on Saturday stated that the guidelines were formulated in consultation with all the stakeholders and the "competitions should be conducted strictly in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)".
"A COVID Task Force shall be constituted for each sporting competition by the organizing committee to guide and monitor all athletes and Athlete Support Personnel (ASPs). This Task Force shall be responsible for overall implementation of protocols outlines in this SOP and other direction issued by the MHA and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time," the circular stated.
The Task Force will also be responsible for closely regulating and monitoring travel of athletes and ASPs.
"The spectators at the sporting event would be in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. For outdoor events, spectators will be allowed upto 50%of the total capacity of the stadium," it read.
"CCTV monitoring may be planned for larger events to detect over-crowding at entry and exit gates and seating areas."
It said that sports events may resume but the final call rests with the respective local authorities where the venue falls.
"The sports competitions may resume, provided no orders of the local authorities prohibit such facilities to resume operation i.e. micro-containment zones and are meant to serve as safety guidelines for organizing the sports competition in consonance with any other guidelines issued by the State Government while granting such permission," it said.
Besides adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, including regular hand sanitisation, wearing of face masks, physical distancing, respiratory etiquettes and installation of Aaroghya Setu App, the most notable points of the SOP are the formation of a COVID-19 Task Force and restriction on spectator attendance.
All the athletes and ASPs will have to undergo thermal screening while entering the venue.
"Depending on the risk perception and the scale of events, organizing committee may consider making RT-PCR Testing of athletes and ASPs carried out within 72 hours prior to the event. Only those having negative RT-PCT report shall be allowed to participate in the event," it said.The SOP further prohibits athletes and ASPs living in containment zones from participating in the competition.
The SOP also prohibits all ASPs who are at higher risk from mingling directly with athletes, coaches and other employees.
"ASPs who are at higher risk i.e. older, pregnant and those who have underlying medical conditions must take extra precaution. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with other athletes/coaches/other employees."
The guidelines also prescribed the support staff whose physical presence is not required to work from home through "tele-work/video conferencing".
The SOP also stipulated disinfection of common touched surfaces, areas and equipments.