World Rugby have published an in-depth 29-page document creating a framework and policy for return to rugby around the world. The governing body insists that this medically approved advice does not mean that matches will have to be played behind closed doors until a vaccine is available.
However, steps are included in the document if such a measure has to happen, World Rugby listing the maximum 167 people who would be permitted to attend a match behind closed doors.
Aside from the respective teams, the guidance suggests upwards of four security guards would be allowed along with a half-dozen paramedics, a seven-strong ball team and supervisor, ten administrators, 20 broadcaster pitch-side crew, a half-dozen commentators, 15 outside broadcasting van people and eight stadium operations personnel.
The guidelines overall have two core sections, the first providing safety information to everyone involved in the game including players, coaches, support and administrative staff, and the second providing a framework around which national unions can prepare best-practice policies and guidelines for return to activity.
Newly re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are all missing the sport that we know and love, and while it is difficult not to be playing or training, advice by the respective governments and authorities must be adhered to.
World Rugby publishes COVID-19 return to rugby guidelineshttps://t.co/moXNg4r6CI
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) May 6, 2020
“World Rugby, in full partnership with unions and players, has been busy behind the scenes ensuring that everything is in place for a safe and speedy return to the sport when it is appropriate to do so. This includes delivering best-practice coaching, refereeing and conditioning webinars, resources and apps and, of course, a phased roadmap for the sport’s return to training and playing.”
Guideline co-author Eanna Falvey, World Rugby’s chief medical officer, added: “We have been working in full collaboration with unions, regions, competitions and players in preparing a set of guidelines that are WHO compliant in a rugby context.
“They outline all the necessary considerations and steps for players, coaches, clubs, unions and competitions and will be updated regularly as the advice and environment evolve. Initial feedback has been extremely positive, and it is certainly prudent that we have a standardised and ready-to-mobilise approach when it is safe and appropriate to resume steps towards playing in the context of easing social-distancing measures.”
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