As restrictions begin to ease relating to COVID-19, Canada Soccer has announced that its member organizations must follow the “Return to Soccer Guidelines” before returning to the pitch. Guided by leadership from the Canada Soccer Sports Medicine Committee and in consultation with federal, provincial, territorial and local public health authorities, the Return to Soccer Guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool, all for the purpose of determining preparedness to mitigate COVID-19 risks and implications upon the resumption of soccer and related activities.
“Since our initial suspension of all sanctioned soccer in Canada in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic in March, we have worked closely and collaboratively with our Member Associations and relevant public health authorities as well as monitored the situation within the international soccer community,” said Steven Reed, Canada Soccer President. “As stay-at-home restrictions begin to ease in parts of the country, we wanted to ensure that we expanded our Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster to provide guidance on how best to ensure a safe return to soccer for all players, coaches, referees and administrators.”
The Guidelines are primarily designed to help member organizations manage their liability and remain compliant with all applicable public health authorities when returning to soccer and related activities. The Guidelines may help member organizations determine which new policies need to be adopted, including social and physical distancing for training, restricting the number of players participating in such training, and restricting game play.
“The introduction of the Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster in May 2019 was a strong signal from the country’s soccer leaders that the safety, enjoyment and development of our athletes is paramount,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary. “Today, it is even more important that we add to our Safe Sport Roster this critical tool that will provide the necessary guidance to our valued members as we all work together to continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 while providing an opportunity for the Canadian soccer community to connect back on the pitch.”
The steps outlined in the Canada Soccer Return to Soccer Guidelines include:
- The easing of stay-at-home orders from the Federal public health authority;
- The easing of restrictions on public gatherings from the respective Provincial public health authority;
- The easing of restrictions for field and facility usage by the respective Municipal public health authority;
- Canada Soccer has received the Return to Soccer Plan from the Provincial or Territorial Member Association, which has been provided to the applicable Provincial or Territorial government department and/or public health authority, and where applicable, has received confirmation from the Province or Territory that it approves of the Plan; and
- Canada Soccer has received the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool from the member organization and has provided any comments or feedback to the member organization or its Provincial or Territorial Member, if any.
“The role of Canada Soccer’s Sports Medicine leadership to ensure safe sport for all levels of the game in our country has never been more paramount during this COVID-19 pandemic and we have been monitoring the situation closely with public health authorities to provide direction for all Canada Soccer sanctioned programs and events,” said Dr. Andrew Pipe, Chair, Canada Soccer Sports Medicine Committee. “The Return to Soccer Guidelines will provide the best possible opportunity for success in continuing to curb the spread of Covid-19 both on and off the pitch.”