Frequently Asked Questions for the return to Football

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Covid -19 Protocol

During the AFCON 2021 MD 3 &4 qualifiers, CAF would be applying the FIFA International Match Protocol

Who covers the cost of the test?

  • The host federation is responsible for the payment of the test of the match officials and its delegation.
  • The host country shall reimburse the match officials the cost of PCR done before travelling upon presentation of the supporting documents.
  • The visiting team covers the cost of the PCR test of all its delegation at all times.
  • In case of a match played in neutral ground, the initial host of the match is considered as the host country in terms of financial coverage.

What is the testing schedule?

•       Testing prior to departure to the host country:

•       Any individual who is departing from a country/area or transiting through a country/area with current COVID-19 “community transmission” status must provide confirmation of a negative PCR test result conducted no earlier than 72 hours before departure.

•       For Match participants (i.e. Teams delegation, match officials, CAF Match Appointees)

•       The mandatory PCR test should be conducted no earlier than 48 hours before the match participants access the stadium.

Results shall be available two hours before departure to the stadium on MD-1 or MD, whichever is earlier.

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•       Contact Group 1: match participants (i.e. players, team officials, CAF Match Appointees)

•       Contact Group 2: attendees in a working capacity who fulfil the criteria of a contact person with Group 1

•       Contact Group 3: all other individuals working at or attending the match

Women’s AFCON 2016: Awards

When should the test result be presented?

•       For the purpose of participating in or working at the match, the PCR test results will be Presented in person at the time of entering the stadium on MD-1 and MD.

•       Wearing face masks covering the nose and mouth is mandatory at all times while in the Stadium with the exception of match participants involved in match activities, including training/warming up and playing.

What are the measures for positive results?

  • Before travelling, an individual who tests positive should be isolated immediately for a number of days (typically seven to ten), as stipulated by the local public health authorities in the country.
  • After arrival in the host country: Individuals who test positive should isolate immediately for a period of

·       time determined by the public health directives of the host country.

  • Each Team is responsible for the welfare of its player and delegation member throughout the period of isolation/ quarantine. The Team Manager should only leave a country when the last player leaves in case of isolation or quarantine.

Who are the new personnel to be provided by the host?

•       Medical Response Coordinator (or equivalent)

•       Lead Hygiene Implementation Officer (or equivalent)

•       Expert adviser (should be considered depending on the local risk)

•       Stadium Hygiene Implementation Officer (should be considered depending on the local risk)

•       Zonal Hygiene Implementation Officer (should be considered depending on the local risk)

•       Stadium Medical Coordinator (should be considered depending on the local risk)

Who are the new personnel to be provided by the teams?

•       Team Medical Liaison Officer (or equivalent)

•       Team Hygiene Implementation Officer (or equivalent)

General View of the trophy during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Final match between Senegal and Algeria at the Cairo International Stadium, Cairo on the 19 July 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Regulatory matters

How many cases are required to consider cancelling or postponing a match?

  • According to CAF AFCON Organizing Committee, which is also in-line with the FIFA laws of the game, each match must be played if the team has at least 11 players (including goalkeeper) + 4 substitutes.
  • For AFCON qualifiers, the list is not restrictive, therefore the National Associations can travel with unlimited number of players.
  • It is recommended to travel with the maximum number of players possible to replace any COVID19 positive player.

Determining the results of the matches that cannot be played:

  • In case a Participating Team cannot travel to the host country and/or venue of a Match due to any travel or other restriction relating to COVID-19, the Participating Team in question shall be considered to have lost the match 2 - 0.
  • According to COVID-19 regulations if a team does not have the minimum number of players (11 players (including goalkeeper) + 4 substitutes) to play a match, the team will be considered to have lost the match 2- 0.
  • In exceptional circumstances the organizing committee will be consulted for a final decision concerning the match/ situation in question.
  • Therefore, no matches will be postponed or canceled for positive COVID19 cases.
Decisions of CAF Referees Committees

What is the number of substitutions allowed in the AFCON Qualifiers?

•       CAF is applying the exceptional rule of five substitutes adopted by FIFA during the period of the pandemic will also be applied for the remainder of the matches in the season 2019 - 2020 under the following conditions: “Each team will be permitted to use a maximum of five substitutes”.

•       “To reduce disruption to the match, each team will have a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions during the game; substitutions may also be made at half-time. If both teams make a substitution at the same time, this will count as one of the three opportunities for each team”.

•       12 substitutes players are allowed on the bench

•       Subs and officials can sit on the bench if there are enough seats required for social distancing. Otherwise, the host association should provide seats in the tribunes with easy access to the benches

Dr Congo with South African fans during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Egypt and Dr Congo at Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 26 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Organizational aspects:

Are spectators allowed to attend the matches?

•       According to CAF COVID -19 protocol, all matches are to be played without spectators.

•       If the host association’s government approves that matches can be played with fans, the host federation must obtain an approval from CAF.

Is Mask mandatory for everyone?

•       Wearing face masks covering the nose and mouth is mandatory at all times while in the stadium with the exception of the players during training/warming up and during the match.

When should the teams arrive to the host country?

•       No later than the day before matchday.

What are the additional responsibilities of the host association?

  • The development of the Accreditation concept is the responsibility of host association through the National Safety and Security Officers (NSSO). The management of the process and delivery is to be carried out through the NSSO in compliance with the distribution approved by CAF.
  • The host federation must provide a lab where the visiting team would conduct the mandatory PCR test before the match upon arrival.
  • The host federation should provide 2 to 3 government approved laboratories to the visiting team to choose from if the visiting team does not use the recommended lab.
  • The host association must facilitate the test for the visiting team and all match official.

What are the additional points to discuss in the Match Coordination Meeting (MCM)?

  • It is recommended to hold all meetings virtually and/or to reduce the number of participants as far as reasonably practicable and distribution of papers to be minimized.

·       To discuss the following in addition to the normal agenda:

  • Zoning restrictions and accreditation cards (MC and NSSO)
  • The MC to ensure the following personnel have been appointed and properly briefed:
  • Medical Response Coordinator (or equivalent)
  • Lead Hygiene Implementation Officer (or equivalent)
  • Staggered timings of arrivals of kit vans, team buses and match officials to ensure separate arrivals.
  • Cleaning and sanitation timetable and implemented hygiene measures.
  • Protocols related to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 of any match participant leading up to the match.
  • The check will be done by the fourth official and MC at -60 as usual.
  • The fourth official should remain at the dressing room door to conduct the check without entering the dressing room. Each player should approach the fourth official to present his equipment, keeping a physical distance.
  • For the purpose of participating in or working at the match, the PCR test results will be Presented in person at the time of entering the stadium on MD-1 and MD.

How is the accreditation zoning done with respect to COVID-19?

•       The zoning system is to prevent any non-pre-approved or uncontrolled contact between individuals in Contact Groups 1 and 2 and other match attendees.

Recommended zones:

Zone 1: Pitch area (green zone): (Field of play)

Zone 2: Pitch surrounding (Orange zone) (Dressing rooms, technical area)

Zone 3: Stadium internal zone. Stands (Yellow zone) (Stands, VIP lounge, camera platform, control room)

Zone 4: Stadium external zone (Blue zone) (Outer peremiter, TV compound)

ACC Zones

Who are the people allowed to the different zones?

Persons Allowed:

Home and visiting teams: MAX 60 (Zone 1 and 2)

CAF Officials: 4 (Zone 1 and 2)

Referees: 5 (Zone 1 and 2)

Ball boys: 6 (Zone 1 and 2)

Announcer: 1 (Zone 1 and 2)

Medical: 8 (Zone 1 and 2)

Private security (access control): 10 (Zone 1 and 2)

Grounds keeper: 6 (Zone 1 and 2)

Cleaners: 4 (Zone 1 and 2)

Photographers: 5 (Zone 1 and 2)

TV: 10 (Zone 1 and 2)

Marketing: 3 (Zone 1 and 2)

Host Association: 30 (Zone 3 and 4)

All other accreditation needs must be validated by the MC.

PCR Test is mandatory for all persons that would have access to Zones 1 &2. It is also recommended for all the persons that would have access to zones 3. It is important to have a dedicated section for the rest of the teams’ delegation that have access to zones 3 alone.

Senegal dressing room during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Quarterfinals match between Senegal and Benin at the 30 June Stadium, Cairo on the 10 July 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

What are the measures to be implemented in the dressing rooms?

•       The use of the dressing rooms should be minimized as much as possible.

•       Depending on the size of the dressing rooms, additional rooms may be used to accommodate all players and team officials

•       Any spa, sauna, wet room, jacuzzi, ice-bath or similar facility should not be used

•       Massage tables, fitness equipment to be located in a separate area

•       Catering prepackaged sealed light snacks

•       Drinks in disposable bottles

What are the measures to be applied in ground transportation?

•       All vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected

•       Physical distancing should be maintained

•       Drivers should be tested

What are the measures to be applied in Hotels?

•       All spaces and surfaces to cleaned and disinfected

•       Hand sanitizers to be provided in every room

•       Potential contact with other hotel guests to be avoided

•       Each individual must have his own hotel room

•       Individuals do not leave the hotel except for pre-arranged activities

•       Food service should be planned in such a way that interactions between hotel staff and teams, match officials, etc. are minimized

What are the measures to be applied in training sites?

•       Training site owners and operators must be aware of and meet the specific testing, hygiene and cleaning protocols.

•       All relevant spaces and surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected

•       Hand sanitizer should be provided

•       Training sessions should be closed to the media and public.

•       A dedicated entrance only used by teams and match officials should be provided.

•       Time spent in closed environments, such as the dressing room before and after training should be minimized. All rooms should be adequately ventilated.

•       Any spa, sauna, wet-room, jacuzzi, ice-bath or similar facility should remain closed.

Gv of the match ball during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match between Madagascar and Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on the 27 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

How many Balls kids?

•       6 ball kids to be used.

•       Use of minors is discouraged

•       Ball kid should access the perimeter of the pitch from separate access route and remain segregated.

•       Match balls should be disinfected every time they are out of play

Is Mask mandatory for everyone?

•       Wearing face masks covering the nose and mouth is mandatory at all times while in the Stadium with the exception of match participants involved in match activities, including training/warming up and playing.

Is cooling break mandatory?

•       Cooling break is not mandatory and depends on the decision of CAF officials on ground. Sealed single-use drinking bottles are to be provided to the match officials. Sharing of drinks is not permitted.

CAF Media Contacts in Namibia

Media Operations:

•       No mixed zone.

•       Video press conference if possible (to be organized by the media officers of both teams).

•       Flash Interviews (For TV rights holders only).

•       As the PCR test is compulsory for all persons accessing zones 1 and 2, Photographers from participating teams and those from accredited media must provide a negative PCR test 48 hours before match day of.

•       Wearing masks covering the nose and mouth at all times during presence in the stadium. Antibacterial gel to be provided at the entrance, physical distancing and compliance with all health measures.

•       Public national radio stations can access spaces and boxes reserved for them.

•        Journalists (written press, web and radio) may be admitted through a dedicated entrance, in a dedicated space, subject to availability.

•       Wearing masks covering the nose and mouth at all times during presence in the stadium. Antibacterial gel to be provided at the entrance, physical distancing and compliance with all health measures.

•        “TV vans” will be admitted under certain conditions: enclosed space located within or outside the stadium and where the trucks used by the broadcasters are parked (in complete safety). The technical staff of these coaches must comply with the health protocol described for all participants in the match: physical distancing, wearing a mask and respecting barrier measures.