All clear!

Sport

All clear!

JFF facility gets passing grade to host camps

By Howard Walker
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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The UWI JFF Captain Horace Burrell Technical Centre of Excellence received a passing grade to facilitate the hosting of camps as the Reggae Boyz look to resume their preparation for the crucial World Cup Qualifiers, possibly to be set for later this year.

A tour of the facility located on the grounds of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus was executed by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) hierarchy, yesterday, led by president Michael Ricketts and Dr Guyan Arscott, head of the medical committee.

At the end of the tour, Ricketts said the new facility consisting of 28 rooms and can house 52 players and officials was given the seal of approval from the medical team.

“We would have put some measures in place as it relates to a protocol document that was developed by medical persons led by Dr Arscott and included Dr McDowell [Derrick], and Dr Carl Bruce, amongst others,” Ricketts explained.

Ricketts continued: “So the visit is to ensure that we are ready, based on that document, to facilitate any camp that the coach now would want to call. The coach is here and we will have a short discussion as to his own idea as to the preparedness and readiness of the facility. I think we are almost there and in my perspective certainly in two or three weeks we should be fully ready and prepared for a camp.

“I think we would have got the seal of approval from Dr Arscott that most things would be in place, except that he thinks that we need an automatic dispenser at the entrance of each room. So that's all that is left to be done and I am pretty certain that will be done in short order,” said Ricketts.

Meanwhile, Dr Arscott was just as pleased with the discussions as he was with the possibilities of trying to restart some physical activity for the footballers.

“We thought that we could look at the safest approach to ensure any chance and to limit the development of COVID-19 infection,” he said.

“Having articulated the kind of precautions and protocols that are in keeping with acceptable standards, we then had to think about the facility and venue where we would take these athletes to begin training and preparation, and clearly we wanted a control group to start with and we wanted an infrastructure that was easy to control,” he pointed out.

“Having come here today, I feel comfortable with the facility; I think there are adequate spaces to practise fairly safely social distancing and I am talking about the kitchen area, dining area and most importantly, the bedroom and bathroom facilities,” Dr Arscott said.

The JFF facility was certainly up to par with that of a quality hotel with well-ventilated rooms all fitted with beds, televisions nicely mounted on the walls, computer stations, and rest rooms with modern toilets.

“If two players are to share one dorm there is adequate space, adequate sanitisation, adequate ventilation and the area that we have to pay special attention to and respect is the auxiliary staff that will be carrying out the day-to-day cleaning and ensuring that is what we are getting,” Dr Arscott noted.

“Overall, I feel fairly confident that we could execute a fairly safe start-up with a reasonable number. Clearly, we can't bring large numbers here. When I looked at the dining room for example, they would have to go dining in two different groups and not all at the same time, to ensure that the social distance is practised,” he added.

“It is doable and there are some issues we have to iron out with the higher authorities such as the Ministry of Health and probably the Ministry of Sports to just get their blessings and their help, particularly as it relates to the troublesome area of testing,” said Dr Arscott.

He continued: “If we educate the players properly in what to do, what is expected of them and how they are to protect themselves and how to protect the rest of those around them, it should be doable.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic hampering sports worldwide, the World Cup qualifiers were postponed indefinitely but could return some time later this year.

On June 25, 2020, following Fifa's decision to postpone the September 2020 international window due to the pandemic, Concacaf noted that the challenges presented by postponements to the football calendar, and the incomplete Fifa rankings cycle, mean the current World Cup qualifying process has been compromised and will be changed although no information on the new format was presented.

Initially, the top six-ranked teams in the region, based on the Fifa ranking of June 2020, would have played home-and-away round-robin matches in one single group (often referred to as the “hexagonal”).

The top three teams would then qualify for the World Cup Finals and the fourth-placed team advance to an inter-continental play-off round for another chance at qualifying for the World Cup Finals.


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