How the EHF will keep the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 safe
- Pre-testing starting two weeks prior to the event
- Social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures included in plan
- Daily self-observation checks of temperature/symptoms
- Any player or official testing positive for Covid-19 must self-quarantine
- Players can only return to competitive action on approval of negative test
- Measures in place during matches to minimise contact on court
- Bubble zones created to restrict contact
The European Handball Federation has put in a place a comprehensive hygiene plan to ensure the safe participation of the forthcoming Women’s EHF EURO 2020.
All players, officials, media and fans either participating or attending the tournament in the Danish venues of Herning and Kolding must adhere to strict hygiene protocols, which the EHF has outlined to reduce the risk of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic. The programme started with testing two weeks in advance at three-days intervals with several of the participating teams choosing to self-isolate.
Enhanced hygiene and social distancing, together with Covid-19 testing programmes – which includes tests for all players taking place at least every 72 hours – will be in place throughout the competition, which begins on 3 December and ends with the final on 20 December.
All team delegations, as well as EHF officials and office personnel travelling from abroad, must present a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result obtained within the last 72 hours prior to travelling to the starting point of the championship.
The protocols state that players or officials testing positive for Covid-19 must immediately self-quarantine in a separate hotel, and any player who contracts the virus can only return to action on the production of a negative test and are no longer considered to be infectious. Remaining team members will also need be tested and will be required to self-isolate with further tests taken the following two days for all members of the team.
Bubble zones have also been created to restrict contact, with those in the red zone – which includes players – unable to be in contact anyone outside of that bubble. Every official in the red zone will be tested every day in the first five days and then continue at an interval of 72 hours with PCR testing in order to have a highly controlled environment.
Teams will ‘live’ in a fully isolated bubble, without any access to the outside world. Their live over the next three weeks will be restricted to the red zone hotel and the red zone in the arena.
Special measures are also in place on matchdays, with venues thoroughly cleaned with goals and seated disinfected; while particular arrangements for media – including a virtual mixed zone – will be also be implemented and strictly monitored.
EHF President Michael Wiederer said: “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. To ensure that a safe and healthy major championship can take place, our organisation team – together with the assistance of authorities in Denmark – have left no stone unturned to make sure the safety of everyone – from players to floor moppers – is secure. It is our target to create safe environment in which athletes can perform in a relaxed way without restrictions.
“We are proud of the professionalism and patience in which the organisational teams and participating federations have dealt with the ever-changing circumstances and challenges that this pandemic has continued to throw up and we are confident the measures implemented can minimise any risk.
“In what has been a hugely challenging year, we are looking forward to what will be a unique tournament and hope that the detailed steps we have taken can show other sports the way forward in dealing with the hosting of a major sporting event.
“My sincere thanks go out to everyone involved, including our friends in Denmark – as well as those in Norway for their hard work and understanding throughout the process, and wish all the teams involved the very best of luck.”
Those few supporters which will be granted access to arenas – a decision which lies with the Danish authorities – are required to fully adhere to social distancing measures. Strict requirements of disinfection, using masks and keeping distance need to be obeyed at all times. Each person entering the arena will be registered by scanning tickets or accreditation ensuring the overview of number and personal details of the persons entering.
All parties involved – officials, commentators, media representatives, etc – must adhere to strict social distancing measures, with sufficient space between the places in order to ensure social distances at any time.
Any catering services in the arena are organised via a pick-up service. Any consummation is allowed only at the assigned and designated place in the arena.
The total number of all persons entering will be limited to 500.