Following the Province of Ontario’s announcement on June 8, which stated that beginning on Friday, June 12, outdoor amateur, youth team sports have been cleared to begin phasing-in a plan that will see athletes take the field again and commence training.
Ontario Soccer will be mirroring the Government of Ontario’s regional implementation directive for the restart to sports this summer, with 25 Public Health Units now cleared to move to Stage 2 of the government’s plans. Ten Public Health Units will remain in Stage 1 until it is safe to move into Stage 2.
In concert with this announcement, Ontario Soccer is now announcing our sport specific Return to Play safety protocol and guidelines for soccer in Ontario.
With guidance from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, as well as review from Canada Soccer, Ontario Soccer has released its Return to Play Guide, which will now be implemented by the Ontario Soccer membership.
“Ontario Soccer has been working very hard behind-the-scenes to prepare our sport for this day since our notice of suspension of all in-person soccer activities back on March 12”, said Johnny Misley, Chief Executive Officer. “Our Return to Play plan includes a phased-in approach along with protocols and recommendations for soccer organizations, coaches, match officials, parents and players. The plan provides our membership with everything they need to begin returning to the soccer fields with a focus on the health and safety of our participants.”
The Ontario Soccer Return to Play Guide/Plan consists of a three-phase approach that includes:
Phase 1: Return to Training (modified training)
Conditions: All Phase 1 Return to Train conditions are met
Restrictions: No contact, no league, exhibition, festival or tournament games
Phase 2: Return to Training and Modified Games (enhanced training & modified games)
Conditions: All Phase 2 Return to Train conditions are met
Inter-squad and Intra-squad modified games permitted (only within the Club/Academy)
Restrictions: No league, exhibition, festival or tournament games
Phase 3: Return to Soccer (regular competition, games and training)
Conditions: Social distancing restrictions have been lifted
The phases outlined above apply equally to all recreational, competitive and high performance level soccer.
“For the past 80 plus days, Canada Soccer has worked closely with all stakeholders including our Provincial and Territorial Member Associations to ensure the health and safety of all who participate in the game of soccer in Canada,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer’s General Secretary. “Starting with the suspension of sanctioned soccer in March, countless hours of thoughtful and measured discussion and planning have gotten us to a place where we are confident we can once again provide a safe sport environment in areas of the country where the provincial and local governments have permitted a return to physical activities.”
Ontario Soccer will determine timelines for each Phase, in alignment with the Province of Ontario provincial and regional health authorities as well as any government orders, restrictions and guidelines.
Additionally, the Return to Play Guide provides information on things such as: Equipment Safety, How to Provide a Safe and Clean Environment and Sample Training sessions that organizations can use as part of this new sporting landscape.
“We’re calling on everyone involved in the game to Pitch in and Play ON! this summer,” said Peter Augruso, President and Chair of the Board of Directors of Ontario Soccer. “Ontario Soccer is the largest and one of the oldest provincial sports organizations in Ontario and Canada. With our vast community reach across the entire province, our sport can be utilized to unite communities again and inspire people, young and old, to get active and enjoy the game they love. I thank our membership for their patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.”
The full Return to Play Guide can be found on the OntarioSoccer.net website.
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