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Coronavirus: FIFA expects football disruption until COVID-19 vaccine found

FIFA document: "Every person involved in a football team or game will have responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19"

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Image: The return to football must be based on objective health advice, says FIFA

FIFA has warned that football will be "very different" until a COVID-19 vaccine is found.

The governing body has released a risk assessment tool to help its 211 member associations and six continental confederations facilitate a safe return to football following the coronavirus pandemic.

Leagues around the world are beginning to start up again after a lengthy delay but they are all behind closed doors and with stringent testing and social distancing protocols.

FIFA has released the document in conjunction with the World Health Organisation, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), FIFPRO, the World Leagues Forum and European Leagues. It contains a checklist of protocols and requirements that must be met.

The document read: "Protecting the health and well-being of every individual globally remains of paramount importance to FIFA.

"It is important that the following measures continue to be advocated: enhanced hygiene, physical distancing, healthy lifestyle choices, eating well and avoiding non-essential travel.

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"Planning for a safe return to football must start now given the health, social and economic benefits of the game globally.

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"Football governing bodies must come together to cautiously and methodically prepare for a post-pandemic return to footballing activities. Until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, the team environment will be quite different.

"Every person involved in a football team or game will have responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

A statement added: "The aim of this joint effort is to consider the health of all participants in footballing activities, the risk assessments and the factors that need to be in place in order for football, both at a professional and at an amateur level, to resume safely.

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"The recommendations of the group are meant to be implemented in conjunction with international and national guidance on public health and mass gatherings.

"Football governing bodies are encouraged to liaise with the relevant public health authorities and to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment to determine whether it is safe to proceed.

"The important guiding principle is that the resumption of footballing activities should not compromise the health of individuals or the community.

"Furthermore, the return to play should be based on objective health information to ensure that activities are conducted safely and do not risk increased local COVID-19 transmission rates."

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