Ensuring the health and safety of players as well as technical and administrative staff is one of the most important priorities as domestic football action plans to resume step by step, a key official at Qatar Stars League (QSL) has said.

Ahmed Khellil Abbassi, Executive Director of Competition and Football Development at QSL said in an interview with the League’s official website that officials are gearing up to prepare the final schedule of the domestic League and it will be announced officially soon.

With all sport action being affected due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, football in Qatar also had to bow down considering health concerns, but the good news for the fans has finally arrived.

Players will return to training on June 10 following COVID-19 tests before undergoing another round of tests on June 24-25,” Abbasi said.

Excerpts from the interview

Q: The competitions will return after a long break. How do you view it?
A: It’s a positive step towards returning to normal life after a break. We should all adapt to and co-exist with the current situation, so that things will return to how they were before the pandemic.

Q: We noticed a lot of engagement from the players during the break, through the commitment to distance training. How did you see that?
A: This period was very important for players to maintain fitness. The technical staff also developed appropriate programs for distance training and they followed the players, either in person or via GPS devices.

Q: The QSL has taken many necessary measures to ensure players’ safety when they return to training. What’re the most prominent among them?
A: Ensuring the health and safety of players as well as technical and administrative staff is one of the most important priorities of QSL. Accordingly, we’ve developed a protocol approved by the Ministry of Public Health, taking into account the examples and protocols for leagues that have resumed again.
Also, according to the protocol and general plan, there’ll be three phases:

  • The first phase is the beginning of training after being tested negative on COVID 19, as per the precautionary measures. Training will resume on June 10.
  • The second phase is team training in groups after being tested negative on COVID 19 on the second examination, as per the precautionary measures.
  • The third phase is the start of competitions and matches conforming to the approved precautionary measures and protocol for match-day operations. It may be noted that there will be an educational video for players to explain the protocol and general plan, and a workshop will be organized to explain each phase for technical, administrative, and medical staff.

Q: Will the players, technical and administrative staff undergo (Covid-19) tests?
A: Yes, the coronavirus (Covid-19) tests will be carried out in the first phase on two occasions, the first on June 8 and 9, and the second on 24th of the same month.

Q: As the weather gets hotter, will the air-conditioned stadiums be used for matches?
A: Yes, air-conditioned stadiums will be used after co-ordination and co-operation with the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, and the venues will be announced along with the schedule.

Q: Are there arrangements for the media and Host Broadcaster?
A: There are many media measures that will be followed during the resumption of matches to ensure the safety of everyone. Press conferences for clubs before and after the matches will be cancelled. Journalists won’t be allowed to cover matches at the venue. As far as the Host Broadcaster is concerned, we co-ordinated with them to explain the precautionary measures.

Q: What are the latest developments on the extension of players’ contracts with the clubs?
A: Work is currently underway to co-ordinate with competent authorities in order to finalize the matter as early as possible.

Q: About the resumption of this season’s Ooredoo Cup,has it been included in the general plan and calendar?
A: The Ooredoo Cup is part of this season’s plan and its remaining schedule will be announced for completion at a later time.

Q: How will the changes this season affect the start of the 2020-21 season and the calendar in general?
A: FIFA has given the confederations the option to play or postpone the national team matches scheduled in the September FIFA Window as scheduled on the official FIFA calendar. Furthermore, the AFC has until now not announced its calendar amendments. Therefore, we are awaiting the decisions to finalize the plan for the 2020-21 season.

Source : The Peninsula

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