FIFA issues Covid amendment, leaves security measure to leagues

NEW DELHI: How many men on a defensive wall, huddled together, with one hand on the groin and the other on the mouth? Do you shake hands before and change the shirts afterwards? Does the mask become a necessary part of the footballer's clothing? Above all, how can a footballer not spit?

For now, these decisions rest solely with the organizers and the players themselves.

The South Korean K-League started Friday amid reports from Seoul that players were told to avoid excessive goal celebrations, handshakes, close conversations and even blowing their noses. With Germany's Bundlesliga also announcing the resumption within a week, a Covid-shaped world could force a revision of some very basic rules of the sport, even when FIFA announced a temporary amendment related to the resumption of leagues in the pandemic.

On Friday, FIFA and the Board of the International Football Association (IFAB), the Zurich-based body that codes the rules in football, made an amendment to Law 3, allowing a maximum of five substitutions instead of the regular three (see box). The amendment represented the powers scheduled to be completed in 2020, according to the statement.

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“Amendments are introduced each year. This year too, but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced IFAB and FIFA to introduce this temporary amendment for this year, ”“ Any Covid-19 pandemic amendment may have been in the realm of discussion but there was no mention of any related amendment till Thursday. The IFAB meeting had already taken place with amendments set to come into effect from June 1, ”Rizwan Ul Haq, former FIFA referee told TOI.

The former referee, who is currently a referee instructor at All India Football Federation, also said that it was unlikely that the FIFA would introduce further amendments as leagues looked to summarize their seasons.

Rizwan also noted that any additional safety measures or precautions to avoid contagion were left to the sole discretion of the tournament and the organizing committee, as indicated in the League K , adding that while FIFA laws are sacrosanct, competition rules could differ depending on the local rules and laws. “You can issue instructions about not spitting, not blowing your nose or even not shaking hands as part of the competition rules but these are not laws of the game. The referee will only see the upkeep of the game through the 17 laws of the game, ”he said.

As a former Delhi player, Rizwan agreed that the challenges are many. How can a player not spit during a game? With blood pressure so high, the pulse racing to 120, spitting becomes an almost involuntary action. Also, always swallowing saliva could also be unhealthy, he said.