Safe return to sport during the COVID-19

Safe return to sport during the COVID-19

Safe return to sport during the COVID-19

While the Eredivisie and Ligue 1 decided to pull the plug on their campaign, other top European teams are considering an appropriate date to resume training, and the Bundesliga is set to restart behind closed doors this week. It will be the first league to return after lockdown in Europe.

Many sport clubs from different sports have announced their return to sports training after players trained individually for over two months during the COVID-19 lockdown measures. Significant uncertainty exists over safe return to football training and competition in a world gripped with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic; the Bundesliga could well provide some clarity on that in the near future.


The Aspetar Clinical Guidelines published in June, with many specific recommendations related to return to training, including general considerations related to indoor training where physical distancing is even more important, and guidelines on how to reduce the risk of infection, including the proper cleaning of gym- and other equipment.

The approach to training should focus on ‘get in, train, get out’, keeping in mind physical distancing and minimizing unnecessary contact in changing rooms, bathrooms and shared areas. The training content and activity depends on the phase: individual training with 1-2 players, group training with less than 8 players or full team training phase (11v11 players). Clubs and individuals should apply a graded return to football to mitigate injury risk and understanding that sudden increase in training load will predispose to injury.

Appropriate hydration during and after training is important—drinks   bottles must be available, but with physical distancing in mind. Each bottle should be clearly labelled to avoid confusion.     

Players should comply with the current Government regulations on masks. It is now compulsory to ALWAYS wear a mask when leaving the house in Qatar—also during sports training. Players should leave the hotel wearing their training kit, and there should be a clean kit laid out for them to travel back and to the hotel after their session if necessary.

A number of individuals from different Aspetar and Aspire departments representing different specialties are formulating the COVID-19 return to sport guidelines as a reference for the sports healthcare practitioners and different sports clubs in Qatar.