We take a closer look at the PSL training plan that was approved by the sports ministry

Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Ntsikelelo Nyauza of Orlando Pirates during the 2019 Telkom Knockout quarter final match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pietermaritzburg, on 2 November 2019.
Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Ntsikelelo Nyauza of Orlando Pirates during the 2019 Telkom Knockout quarter final match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pietermaritzburg, on 2 November 2019.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The Premier Soccer League's (PSL) plan for a return to training under level three of the national lockdown regulations was approved by the Department of Sports‚ Arts and Culture on Wednesday‚ and also came back with a positive review of having exceeded the required protocol.

The directive is expected to be shared with the PSL's 32 Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship teams following a meeting of the league’s executive committee on Thursday‚ along with a green light to return to training once the sides have become compliant.

The directive notes‚ realistically‚ that‚ "No risk can be reduced 100%. This document has been prepared utilising best available scientific evidence"‚ and warns that "failure to comply with this directive constitutes misconduct".

TimesLIVE takes a closer look at the PSL's "Covid-19 Health and Safety Directive: Return to Training".

Among points under the heading "Prior to returning to training"‚ the plan states:

* Teams and all participants will‚ prior to commencing training‚ provide proof of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Covid-19 testing (one test at least two days and at most seven days prior to resumption of training). Teams must ensure all necessary precautions have been taken by players and staff to mitigate contracting the virus at least 14 days prior to resumption of training.

* All persons (including players and staff) must have done pre-training medicals prior to resuming training. Any chronic medical conditions must be identified‚ reported and appropriate medical treatment must be implemented.

* Any person/s excluded by the screening process or who tests positive (Covid-19 test) will not be permitted to resume training. All excluded persons will be managed thereafter in accordance with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) guidelines and medical advice and must satisfy the 'Post Infection Recovery' guidelines in this document.

* If screening results raise a concern‚ but the COVID-19 test is negative‚ the individual will not be permitted to train and will undergo COVID-19 testing 72 hours later.

As regards "people over 60 years of age and/or those who have co-morbid diseases‚ it is strongly advised these individuals attempt to work remotely"‚ the directive continues.

Pertinent rules under "Logistics and Equipment" are:

* All participants must wear masks (save for players when they are playing or training) and should shower at home or their accommodation.

* Personal/team towels dedicated to each participant must be washed at home each day.

* Each player must also receive his own water bottle - this should also be washed and cleaned by them. Besides soap and water‚ Milton’s is a good option.

*All gym equipment and change rooms must be thoroughly cleaned with appropriate cleansers/disinfectants prior to training and after training.

* Hand sanitiser must be available at the training venue.

* Balls should be washed with soap and water/appropriate sanitiser prior to and after training sessions.

* All staff involved with cleaning must wear masks and gloves at all times.

* There must be availability for appropriate Personal Protective Equipment which will require to be utilised if treating a Person Under Investigation.

Under "Compulsory Screening" the directive states:

* Each Member Club must have a health officer who is responsible for ensuring that the guidelines are adhered to.

* Member Clubs must use the screening questionnaire daily prior to arrival at work (all staff) – coordinated by the health officer.

The section "On-Field Training‚ Pools and Gym" states:

* Member Clubs will ensure proper sanitisation is available and physical distancing is promoted.

* There will be no pre-training or other huddle or physical contact.

* Education is required to caution players against spitting and blowing noses on the field.

* There will be a graded full team inclusion with training. Specific team conditioning and periodisation will be the task of each team’s physical trainer/physio/biokineticist.

* Chlorinated pools can be utilised for recovery and/or rehabilitation practicing physical distancing of at least two metres and must be under medical guidance with at least 60 minute spacing between team groups. Masks need to be worn in this environment.

* Masks do not need to be worn by players during training sessions but must be worn by all other staff including players when not actually training.

* There will be a graded approach to training. It is pertinent that each team also utilises the relief of training restrictions to the different risk adjustment strategies by government to their advantage to begin a progressive load. Specific team conditioning and periodisation will be the task of each team’s physical trainer/physio/biokineticist:–

Week One: staggered sessions with maximum of five outfield players (excluding goalkeepers) – all non-contact;

Week Two: Staggered sessions with maximum of 10 in two groups outfield players (excluding goalkeepers) – minor contact (e.g.‚ 5 v 5 drills).

The section "Training Venue Compliance" states:

* Only the persons who are necessary for training purposes on the day in question will be permitted to be present at the training venue.

* Commonly used guard rails‚ turnstiles‚ door handles‚ change rooms (all surfaces‚ including benches‚ cupboards‚ floors and shower floors) must be regularly cleaned.

* Deep sanitising of the facilities must be done prior to the resumption of training.

* A complete list of staff involved must be kept (a contact list with name‚ address and telephone number). Any persons “red flagged” for any reason before‚ at‚ or after a match must be reported to the Member Club and the League. The League only requires the capacity in which the person was working.

24.9. There must be a clearly identified room for isolation in the event it is necessary to deal with a Person Under Investigation for COVID-19.

The section "League Compliance" states:

* No media interviews will be conducted physically – if there are to be interviews the use of technology using telephonic and video interviews is encouraged.

* No sponsor activations will be permitted before‚ during‚ or after training sessions.


X