Pitches, balls to be sterilised when football resumes

Leagues are considering to sterilize balls and pitches frequently in order to minimise the chance of players getting infected by the novel coronavirus, once football resumes. Most leagues have been on hold since early March due to the pandemic and stakeholders have been drawing up plans to complete the current season in a bid to avoid catastrophic financial losses.

Leagues are considering to sterilize balls and pitches frequently in order to minimise the chance of players getting infected by the novel coronavirus, once football resumes. Most leagues have been on hold since early March due to the pandemic and stakeholders have been drawing up plans to complete the current season in a bid to avoid catastrophic financial losses. However, a date for a return is yet to be set.
Rafa Ramos, president of the association of Spanish football club doctors, told Spanish newspaper El Pais what conditions will be like when matches, which are set to be played in closed stadiums with no spectators, return. “All the material, even the pitches, will have to be sterilised before a match, at halftime and afterwards,” he said. “It’s possible to be infected by an unknown ball but when you are struck by a sterilised ball on a sterilised surface it’s very hard to get infected.”
Ramos also said medical staff were concerned about a rise in injuries when the season resumes as players have been forced to train at home due to the conditions of Spain’s strict lockdown. “We aren’t just worried about the virus. The players will have had eight weeks without competing, cooped up in their homes and not all of them have big houses where they can do fitness training,” he added. “We don’t know how long they’ll take to recover without seeing an increase in injuries, so we’ll have to extend the period as long as is necessary to ensure the risks are minimal.”

Yellow for spitting

Michel D’Hooghe, Chairman of the medical committee of the FIFA, wants to increase player’ safety by showing a yellow card to players spitting. D’Hooghe fears that coronavirus can be transmitted via the saliva. “is a common practice in football and it is not very hygienic. This is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful before we start again. I am not pessimistic but I am rather sceptical at the moment.”

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