AFL Victoria has issued its Covid-69 aware RETURN TO TRAINING AND GAMES PROTOCOLS and there is a warning at the start of it:
If these protocols cannot be achieved, training and competitions should not proceed.
In a nine page document outlining how local and junior football can resume this year after having been banned last year there are about 15 sections, and this, Hygiene, is one:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitisers must be available for all team training sessions and on the interchange bench, with players encouraged to use prior, during and following training/games
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Wash or sanitise your hands before eating
- No high fives or handshakes, and other physical contact
- Do not share drink bottles, helmets or equipment that touches your face or head
- Cover your mouth to cough or sneeze (using your elbow)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Spitting and clearing of nasal/respiratory secretions is not permitted
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect facilities before use (prior to player arrival)
- Clubs must ensure that frequently touched surfaces and objects are cleaned regularly when in use (e.g. tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water. In some instances, change rooms may need to be cleaned more regularly and clubs should be monitoring or adjusting cleaning arrangements as required
- Avoid removing mouthguards other than when necessary and take care when removed that no contact is made with another person
- Disinfect mouth guards after each session and ensure they are appropriately stored
- Minimise use of communal facilities (toilet or medical use only with strict social distancing)
- Showers at home where possible
- Hygiene posters displayed (templates available on Toyota AFL Club Help website)
Football is a very up close and personal game, especially in packs, when at the junior levels they’re falling and climbing all over each other, but that’s ok, well unavoidable, but high-fiving, and handshaking, and other physical contact, is somehow not allowed, and once the game is over they have to go back to being entirely physically stand offish. It’s certainly weird.
Some highlights from other sections:
- Limit the coming together in tight huddles during training and quarter breaks
- Only players and officials are allowed on the ground during matches, including breaks, and at
- No spectators on grounds during breaks or after the match
The last two, they just repeat themselves for some officious reason. But what they are doing here is preventing the tradition of fathers wandering onto the field to get to the huddle and listen to the coach’s address to the players at quarter time breaks, and this is just cruel and unforgivable. There is no logical hygiene reason for preventing spectators coming onto the ground during breaks, or before/after the game. They are just being sadistic here or something.
But there is more cherrypicked sadism, or hilarity, depending on your mood:
- Use adequately spaced markers on the floor in toilets to promote physical distancing
- Spectators must keep at least 1.5 metres from others
- Where venues allow for vehicle access surrounding the oval, spectators are encouraged to remain in their vehicle (subject to Victorian State Government advice regarding risk for spectators viewing from vehicles, e.g. cohabiting family/household members only
- It is the participating Clubs’ responsibility to monitor crowd social distancing and if required they can liaise with Police to enforce social distancing protocols
- Any non-compliance to the Victorian State Government’s direction and restrictions should be reported to Victoria Police
- Match football will be wiped with antibacterial wipes or alcohol-based sanitiser at each break in the match
- Entry and exit points to the playing surface (e.g. gates) should be cleaned between training sessions and matches
- Clearly defined pick-up/drop-off zones and separating assembly areas for participants
- Limit social gatherings and mingling after training and games
About the only way it’s possible to keep one’s sanity in these Covid cult days is to regard all of this as bureaucratic overreach that no normal person in real daily life would take seriously, and to trust in the good nature of people to just ignore the worst excesses of it. You’d hope.
The full monstrosity of it is at https://aflvic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Return-to-Training-and-Games-Protocols-Feb-5.pdf.
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