Swedish soccer players and coaches will not be required to take a test for COVID-19 before training sessions or matches as part of the country’s proposed return-to-play protocol during the pandemic.
Instead, they will have to fill in a self-assessment form each morning and email it to their club doctor no later than two hours before arriving for training, or before arriving at a stadium for a match. The doctor will then assess whether the players and coaches are healthy enough to take part.
They must stay at home if they have any symptoms.
It follows the general principle adopted in Swedish society that only people who “are feeling so ill that they must visit a hospital get a full-scale corona test,” the Swedish league told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
”So, in line with that, we do not have the opportunity to test our players.”
The return-to-play protocols for training and professional matches, which were published by the Swedish league on Tuesday, have been presented to the country’s Public Health Authority.
The authority is expected to decide this week whether the top two Swedish leagues can start next month. They are hoping to begin playing matches on June 14, more than two months after the initially scheduled start date.
Swedish society hasn’t completely shut down during the virus outbreak because the government and health authorities have chosen not to impose as many restrictions as other countries.
That is reflected in its proposed return-to-play protocols in soccer, which differ to other leagues in Europe.
Just across the border in Denmark, for example, players and certain staff members will make self-examinations before training sessions, then enter a “testing regime” before league games or friendlies against other clubs, Danish Superliga chief executive Claus Thomsen told the AP.
Every player will be tested once before matches and probably on a weekly basis, or more, after that.
“It is not a small expense for clubs of the size of the Danish league,” Thomsen said. “But it is an expense we will carry.”
The Danish league is planning to resume on May 28.
In Germany, where soccer will resume this weekend, players and staff in the top two men’s leagues in Germany had to undergo two rounds of testing prior to resuming full team training last week. They will also require regular tests prior to each game.
It’s estimated it will require a minimum of 20,000 tests to finish the season.
In England, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said Monday the tests set to be used by players were developed by the sister company of the one used by the Bundesliga.
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Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80