South America to ban shirt swaps, spitting when soccer back

AP , Thursday 14 May 2020

Players will be banned from exchanging shirts and spitting under health protocols announced by CONMEBOL for when it hopes soccer can resume in South America in September.

The governing body developed the protocols for the Copa Libertadores and second-tier Copa Sudamericana, which have been shut down along with every national league in the continent since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

CONMEBOL said it's setting up a medical control register to which all players, coaching staff and other match officials must sign on. All signees must undergo COVID-19 tests, and be subject to additional testing before matches and trainings.

Before matches, all people involved will also have to undergo body temperature checks.

At matches, players and other participants will be prohibited from spitting or blowing their noses on the field or in the reserves' seats. They may not kiss the ball during or after the game.

Sharing drink bottles, exchanging T-shirts or other personal items, as well as exchanging pennants will be prohibited.

All players and coaching staff who are on the bench or at a news conference _ if these are allowed _ should wear a mask.

CONMEBOL also confirmed the change to five substitutions per game, after president Alejandro Dominguez expressed annoyance last week that they weren't consulted before FIFA allowed it to the end of this year.

At its meeting on Wednesday, CONMEBOL also said it granted $14 million to its 10 national associations to benefit more than 400 clubs in the region.

The governing body has distributed $79 million so far amid the pandemic.

The latest outlay was drawn from money marked for development programs, notably for youth soccer, but CONMEBOL decided to distribute it to mitigate financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

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