Ontario Soccer, in consultation with Canada Soccer and government advisors, continues to monitor the most recent developments surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are now in a position to announce our approved Return to Play Guide - Protocols and Recommendations for Ontario Soccer affiliated Clubs and Ontario Registered Academies.
The Ontario Government announced on June 8 that additional workplaces are scheduled to re-open - for soccer this means "Outdoor Amateur Team Sports," as per the government's directive.
As part of the announcement, the Government of Ontario stated that beginning on June 12, at 12:01 a.m. outdoor amateur team sports have been cleared to begin training on a regional basis. Click here to view which regions and Districts in Ontario are cleared by the Province of Ontario.
Ontario Soccer will be mirroring the Government of Ontario regional approach 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.
Please be advised of the following critical sport specific steps and directives from Ontario Soccer in alignment with Canada Soccer on soccer’s implementation plan.
- Ontario Soccer has now been provided through the Province of Ontario, direction on Return to Play safety protocol and guidelines.
- Canada Soccer and the Ontario Soccer Board of Directors have both approved Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide and Plan. The plan can now be implemented by Ontario Soccer affiliated Clubs and Academies where regionally permitted to do so.
- All affiliated Clubs and Academies must read and understand Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide (the plan) – Protocols and Recommendations document.
- All affiliated Clubs and Academies must prepare their own Return to Play Plans for use within their membership. Use of Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide (the plan) is encouraged.
- All affiliated Clubs and Academies must complete Canada Soccer's Risk Assessment Tool. Please do not complete this tool until you have completed Step 3 and Step 4 above. Access by each Club and Academy must be do so by one single source.
The Canada Soccer Online Risk Assessment Tool has been sent directly to Club and Ontario Registered Academy Administrators. If you believe your Club or Academy Administrator has not received the Online Risk Assessment Tool, please contact Patty Forbes, Director, Administration.
All affiliated Clubs and Academies must complete Canada Soccer’s Risk Assessment Tool.
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.
Note: Ontario Soccer will determine timelines for each Phase in alignment with the Province of Ontario provincial health authorities involving government orders, restrictions and guidelines. This will be communicated via future Action Bulletins when applicable.
The Return to Play Guide also includes:
- Training and Competition Recommendations & Guidelines for Soccer Organizations
- Recommendations and Guidelines for Players
- Recommendations and Guidelines for Parents
- Recommendations and Guidelines for Coaching
- Recommendations and Guidelines for Match Officials
Additionally there is information on:
- Equipment Safety
- Provide a Safe and Clean Environment - Fields, Clubhouse, Offices
- Risk Management and Insurance
- Emergency Response Plan
- Legal Considerations
Ontario Soccer has also included information on Technical Resources, such as Sample Training Sessions, Return to Play Participant waivers, which may be used by your organization and links to COVID-19 Public Health Resources.
Return to Play Education Webinars for Ontario Soccer membership will be scheduled starting the week of June 22, 2020. It will include a 30-minute presentation on the Return to Play Guide and 30 minutes for questions and answers. Please look for upcoming Information Bulletins with further details. Pre-registration will be required
In summary, we are taking a cautious, balanced approach to Return to Play. The hard work and sacrifice of frontline workers and the quick action of our community to stay home have brought us to this stage. We want to recognize the incredible adaptability that membership have all shown over the last number of months and we are extremely proud of how every organization has met this unprecedented challenge. We are humbled by your dedication in the face of adversity.
Everyone has worked hard to help “flatten the curve” of the virus but it continues to be a serious health issue.
Thanks to our membership of Ontario Soccer, we received over 17,000 responses to our Return to Play Survey we sent out last month. Attached with this Bulletin, you find the results. That data assisted us in creating the framework for Return to Play Guide and Plan. Our plan is a tempered and flexible approach for moving forward with Return to Play. Our priority remains the health and well-being of our participants and the entire soccer community.
Future decisions for our organization will be based on public health advice, lessons learned and best practices. We will move forward carefully and deliberately. While we recognize that the future will be different, I know we can count on our organization and our communities to continue to adapt to a new normal.
We are moving through an unprecedented and evolving situation and we will continue to keep you informed as further decisions are made to ensure the safety of all participants while starting to deliver the programs and services on which you rely.
Thank you all for your incredible commitment and adaptability during this extremely challenging time. We will get through this together and come out stronger.