It was a gentleman's agreement to leave players unattended in Saudi Arabia, says HOD Anderson


It was a gentleman's agreement to leave players unattended in Saudi Arabia, says HOD Anderson

Sport Editor

Monday, November 23, 2020

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Head of delegation (HOD) of the Reggae Boyz's recent tour of Saudi Arabia Raymond Anderson says the Jamaican management team was convinced by their Saudi Arabian counterparts to leave the COVID-19 positive players unattended because they would be in good hands.

Anderson, also a senior vice-president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), told the Jamaica Observer that the management team on location had actually met with the aim of designating someone to remain with the four players who have been in isolation since returning positive COVID-19 test results earlier in the week.

However, the hierarchy of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation convinced them that there was no need for anyone to remain behind with the players because they would be well taken care of.

“We had a meeting with the management staff with Roy [Simpson] as the manager, the President [Mike Ricketts], the gen-sec [general secretary Dalton Wint], the doctor [Bersha Cole] and me, and we looked at it in detail as to who should be left behind with the players.

"We thought it would be good to leave somebody behind, but at the same time, we got a commitment from the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) that we should not worry, they will do everything in their powers, and as a matter of fact, they (SAFF) left an ambulance at the hotel, they left a doctor and a nurse at the hotel,” Anderson said.

He added: “And put it this way, if I had remained there, I wouldn't be of great help to them either because I'm not a medical person, so they gave us all of those assurances and we took a management decision knowing that it is a federation-to-federation gentleman's agreement, then that's that.”

The majority of the Jamaican delegation arrived in Riyadh on Monday night [November 9] and players came in every day through to Friday. The first batch to arrive completed its mandatory quarantine period and was administered COVID-19 tests on the Thursday with the results released late Thursday night.

Emerging from those tests were two positive cases, a player and a member of the technical staff. Two other cases were deemed inconclusive, of which one was later tested positive.

Another round of tests was administered on Sunday [November 15] which resulted in one positive and the other inconclusive returned a negative result.

The final round of tests was carried out on Monday [November 16] another player got a positive result, while the player who was deemed inconclusive twice, then cleared on Sunday's results, returned a positive 24 hours later.

Anderson believes that to date, the SAFF has stuck to its promise.

“So far they are sticking to their agreement,” he said.

However, the Observer understands the four players had further PCR tests administered on Wednesday and all four results returned positive.

“Based on what I have been told they are all still positive,” confirmed Anderson.

Under the Saudi Arabia COVID-19 protocols, the players are expected to be isolated for 10 days once they are asymptomatic, and as soon as they return a negative result they will be allowed to travel.

If any of them shows symptoms of COVID-19 and requires further medical care, he will be transferred to a designated hospital. And the confirmed case has to be retested after three days of the disappearance of the last symptom to assess his eligibility to travel.

Meanwhile, the first positive case which was tested at the University Hospital of the West Indies on November 6 but received his negative result while in London the following day, has now been tested COVID-19 negative and was cleared to return home.

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