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Ontario Soccer, in consultation with Canada Soccer and the Government of Ontario, continues to monitor the most recent developments surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the resulting public health crisis and now the province’s Return to Play.
Ontario Soccer has received additional questions from membership, since the first COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ) was released on March 16, 2020, followed by the second COVID-19 FAQ on March 23, 2020, a third COVID-19 FAQ on April 3, a fourth FAQ on May 12, and a fifth FAQ on June 16.
Ontario Soccer has prepared the following additional FAQ #6 in response to recently completed Return to Play webinars and questions that were brought forward by membership.This FAQ has a specific focus on those questions relevant to Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Plan - Phase 1. Additional FAQ’s will be released later to address questions pertaining to Phases 2 and 3.
How many players and coaches are we allowed on a full 11v11 field?
The maximum number of participants per group is based on the restrictions on gathering imposed by the Government of Ontario. As of today, the limit is 10, including the coach. A full-sized field can be divided to accommodate several groups (multiples of ten), provided the facility meets all requirements including entry and exit points while respecting physical distancing measures. Any configuration of space can be used, provided the physical distancing rule of 2m (6 ft.) is respected. As well, local municipalities may place further restrictions on their field use that may limit the maximum number of people on a full field. Organizations are therefore encouraged to contact their municipality and verify.
Should coaches use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) during Ontario Soccer’s Phase 1 or Phase 2 of Return to Play?
Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while out in public is recommended for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2m (6 ft.) physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings, such as training and competition facilities. Public health officials will make recommendations based on a number of factors, including the rates of infection and/or transmission in the community.
Recommendations may vary from community to community. If you do choose to wear facial covering, refer to Return to Play Guide (page 22) on wearing non-medical masks, how to make your own and the Special Advisory Committee recommendations on the use of non-medical cloth masks or face coverings in community settings.
How often should equipment be sanitized or cleaned?
Coaches will wipe equipment down using the disinfected swabs or towels before and immediately after each session. It is recommended that you do not go home and then clean your equipment as potentially contaminated items may be transmitted into the home environment.
Is Goalkeeper training allowed in Phase 1?
Yes, Goalkeeper training can be held in Phase 1 provided the guidelines as outlined in Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide for training be respected. The Goalkeeper should wear gloves and avoid any ball contact to the face. Sanitization of equipment must be completed after each session.
What do organizations need in terms of insurance?
For Clubs and Academies it is very important to understand, the Insurance conditions that surround possible COVID-19 claims and the mitigation of risk. Please be aware that Clubs and Academies must purchase both Director and Officer (D & O) Insurance and Commercial General Liability Insurance to protect your organization. For further information, please see HUB International.
Accident and Liability Insurance for players and team officials is provided under Ontario Soccer’s Insurance policy through registration in OSCAR, Ontario Soccer’s official registry, powered by SportsEngine.
Regarding potential lawsuits due to COVID-19, insurance policies now contain a “Contagion Exclusion Clause” which has been revised to include COVID-19 and became effective on July 1, 2020, for Ontario Soccer’s Commercial General Liability policy. As a result of this exclusion clause, the cost to defend this type of claim will be the responsibility of the District, Club or Academy.
Note: Ontario Soccer has inquired with the Government of Ontario around creating special exceptions for insurance as it relates to COVID-19. As the province of British Columbia has enacted measures for the protection of their athletes during the pandemic as it relates to insurance, Ontario Soccer is seeking similar support from the Provincial Government and will update as more information becomes available.
If a Club or Academy has a case of COVID-19, who is the contact person at Ontario Soccer that the Club and Academy needs to inform, as indicated in the Emergency Response Plan?
The chart in the Return to Play Guide (Page 36) gives details behind the emergency response process when a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified. The designated Single Point of Contact, as detailed in the Emergency Response Plan, must notify their Public Health Unit and Patty Forbes at Ontario Soccer.
Should Trials be permitted during Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play - Phase 1 or 2?
As organizations return to play, the focus should be on creating a safe, welcoming and fun environment for players. Club and Academies are encouraged to establish programs that are inclusive and provide a meaningful experience for all participants. Trials are therefore not encouraged during these Phases.
Can modified games occur during Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play - Phase 2?
Yes, during Phase 2 modified games are permitted as long as the games take place ONLY within the Club or Academy. Inter-squad and intra-squad games can take place, provided all players are registered to the same Club or Academy. This includes recreational games (House Leagues). All modified games during Phase 2 must adhere to the protocols set by Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide as outlined in Phase 2. Ontario Soccer will confirm Phase 2 in alignment with Government of Ontario directives.
Do Clubs and Academies have to start Return to Play in Phase 1 or can they wait until Ontario Soccer moves to Phase 2 and start at that time?
Yes, Clubs and Academies can decide which phase they want to restart their programming in. However, it is important to remember that all organizations must complete the Return to Play protocols before commencing with their Return to Play plans. Clubs and Academies are encouraged to begin preparations well ahead of commencement of Phase 1 or Phase 2.
I would like to get a refund for my registration fees from my Club or Academy. They have directed me to contact Ontario Soccer. How do I go about getting a refund?
All refunds for registration payments are managed by Clubs and Academies. If you are seeking a refund, please contact your Club or Academy about their refund policy. Ontario Soccer does not manage the refund process. If you have ongoing concerns with your organization and their refund policy please contact your District Association for more assistance.
How do I stay connected with Ontario Soccer?
If you have any questions, please contact Patty Forbes, Director of Administration.