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LeFA races against time

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Moorosi Tsiane

THE Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has warned clubs to strictly abide Covid-19 protocols as it races against time to push the government into allowing the resumption of soccer activities.

The government halted football and other sporting activities in January this year after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

When the premier league was suspended, most teams had played four games while others had played three. The A Division was a week away from commencement.

The soccer season normally ends in the first week of May but this time around, it appears it will have to go beyond that.

According to a proposal by LeFA to the government seen by the Sunday Express, the prevailing conditions are now conducive for the resumption of soccer given that the infection rate has decreased.

“According to the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC’), press conference of 4 March 2021, the infection rates in Lesotho have dropped to about one percent hence the situation is now conducive for players and officials to take part in active sport,” part of the proposal reads.

“LeFA proposes to resume football activities gradually.  The proposal is such that clubs will return to a minimum of 14 days training period before the competitions return. When the competitions return, it will be by way of a structured return to ensure maximum safety environments for all football stakeholders.”

To ensure strict adherence to protocols, clubs will be expected to sign consent forms to show their commitment to adhering to protocols.

“LeFA is aware that the clubs do not have the financial muscle to hold ‘safe training bubbles’ such as the one the hosted for Likuena. We therefore, propose a controlled return to training based on the following protocols and directives mitigation protocols”

“All clubs must sign consent and commitment forms that they will adhere to the directives and protocols aimed at creating safe training environments for the players and officials. No club will be allowed to return to training if they have not consented to the directives and protocols.

“LeFA has disbursed FIFA/LeFA Covid relief funds to all the affiliated clubs and this must be used to purchase accessories that are needed to assist the teams to create safe football environments.”

Teams should engage LeFA trained compliance officers. Clubs face suspension if they breach the rules.

LeFA said it will conduct continuous checks while compliance officers will be trained further on Covid-mitigation protocols.

No club will be allowed to start training without trained compliance officers and prior to resumption of training sessions, clubs are to conduct Covid-19 awareness and mitigation strategies for their players and officials. The association will demand proof of such training.

The association said it would also plant undercover compliance officers to ensure that no club flouts the directives and protocols. Those found flouting the regulations are liable for disciplinary action.

“Clubs must ensure that they maintain minimum functional numbers at their training sessions at all times. They should not allow fans to their training sessions and should also engage and partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure adherence with directives and protocols,” the proposal reads.

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