Latvian Basketball Union (LBS), the Board evaluated the experience of the first games of the Latvian basketball leagues in connection with the implementation of epidemiological safety measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 infection, as a result of which it was decided to set stricter requirements for safe games, reports LBS.
It has already been reported that on Monday, October 5, at an extraordinary meeting of the government, the Minister of Health Ilze Hänķele (AP) admitted that this week the discussion on restrictions on gathering at indoor sports events and events without personalized seats could begin. At the same time, the Minister of Health expressed that the issue of indoor sports events is also on the agenda. She referred to an observation made at a basketball game over the weekend when no spectator seats were allocated during the game.
The Minister did not mention a specific game, but the requirement to observe a distance of two meters was not observed in the “Ogre” – “VEF Rīga” game, as well as partially in the other two Latvian-Estonian Basketball League matches held on Saturday.
The Board of LBS also later found that in several places there were gross mistakes in the organization of games, which pose a threat to public health and may endanger the course of future competitions.
“The first official games of the season have shown that Latvian fans are longing for basketball, and emotions sometimes prevail over caution. We, the organizers of the competition, were not completely ready for such a situation. Although all the necessary documents have been accepted and together with the club representatives we have talked a lot about how to act in various possible situations, the practice offered unforeseen challenges, ”LBS quotes Kristaps Janičenokas, the director of the Latvian Basketball League.
“We have identified the mistakes and they will be corrected in future games. At the same time, I urge basketball fans to be aware of the various restrictions that have been adopted in order to protect the health of both participants and spectators as much as possible, and competitions in Latvian leagues could take place in accordance with the game calendar. ”
In order to strengthen epidemiological safety measures, the Board of LBS has clarified and supplemented the “Procedure for Implementation of Epidemiological Safety Measures to Limit the Spread of Covid-19 Infection in Basketball Competitions Organized by LBS”, which has been in force since September 18, 2020.
The new rules stipulate that the team submits to the game commissioner (“Pafbet” in the Latvian-Estonian league, “Ramirent” in the National Basketball League and the Latvian Cup) before each official tournament game organized by LBS together with the application for the game (no later than 20 minutes before the match) ) or statements completed and signed by the competition secretary (Douglas Baltic League and Regional League). Certificates must also be filled in by the judges of the playground and the secretariat.
There are also stricter requirements for viewers. Namely, fans who are not from the same household must be two meters apart from each other in the stands / hall, as well as in relation to the team and the referee’s / secretariat areas. Spectators must wear mouth and nose pads (except for children under 13 years of age) while in the stands / hall. Medical, non-medical or hygienic masks, as well as “visors” and face shields can be used as mouth and nose masks.
The regulations also include a clause stipulating that the home team must determine the maximum number of fans allowed in the stands before each match, in accordance with Cabinet Regulation No. 360. Basketball halls will not be allowed to gather more than 50% of their capacity. Clubs must inform the Chief Referee of Latvian basketball leagues about the number of spectators allowed by October 9.
Teams are also encouraged to organize ticket sales remotely to prevent congestion at the box office.
The new rules are accompanied by specific sanctions, which will require the gaming commissioners to step up their monitoring of the above points. In the event of non-compliance, the referees have the right to suspend the game until the deficiencies have been remedied. In such cases, the losses incurred by the league due to the delay of the games will be borne by the home team.
In case the spectators do not observe the set distance during the match, and the LBS board decides that the match organizers should be punished, the clubs will have to part with 1,500 euros, and the next duel will have to be taken to empty stands.
LBS reports that the new rules will take effect on October 9.