EFF proposes competition guidelines ahead of new season amid COVID-19

Haileegziabher Adhanom – AIPS Member

ADDIS ABABA, September 6, 2020 – The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) and club representatives recently had a discussion about the possibilities of commencing football competitions for the 2020/21 season. During the meeting with the clubs two weeks ago, EFF tabled its initial 30-page document, which details the health protocols for the resumption of football activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing, Tracing and Treatment, which are the three crucial elements in the fight against the pandemic according to WHO, constitute the backbone of the EFF’s protocols. There are also detailed guidelines of do’s and don’ts, including not allowing a player mark his opponent for a longer period.

The protocols also stipulate that every participant of the league should bring a 72-hours COVID-19 negative test result before every match, clubs should stay in isolated camps during the competition period, players should not celebrate or argue with the referee in group and all clubs to hire a COVID-19 Health Officer.

When, How to Resume the League?

All football-related activities were officially abandoned in March, in Ethiopia. However, the EFF is now looking to launch the new league season within the coming two months, if the government gives the green light.

The new season is planned to be conducted in a single round robin format, on a selected few stadiums, rather than the usual home and away double round robin format. Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Mekellle, Hawasa and Adama were selected as proposed venues to host the 15 matchdays premier league competitions, while, Woldia, Addis Ababa, Nekemet, Sodo and Hawasa have been listed to host the three zone higher league (second division) competitions.

The EFF said this document shows the readiness of the sports sector to resume competitions whenever the government allows it.

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