Metro Women's Soccer League
To develop the game of soccer inspiring women to life-long active and inclusive team play.

Covid-19 Questions

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Questions
 What numbers would be allowed at matches / team if roster size is larger than 18?
 Will there be any reshuffling of Divisions so that each Division contains a multiple of 4 teams to form cohorts?
 What is the process if a player in the cohort gets COVID 19 – based on timing?
 How will the cohort be determined and is it possible to try and keep the cohort in close proximity (location wise)?
 Will it be one cohort for the entire season, or a cohort followed by two week break before entering a new cohort?
 Are players able to play in a different league at the same time?
 Will all teams in a cohort play at one specific field?
 Will we still have exposure risk because we have no idea where the other teams’ players have been?
 
Rules
 Throw-ins:
 Spitting and nose clearing:
 Sideline social distance:
 Coach guidelines
 Promotion and Relegation:
 Permits (Intra Club Permit/Youth To Senior Permit/Affiliated Team Permit):
 
General
 With the kick-in instead of a throw-in, could this result in potential “corners” when the kick-in is in the attacking third?
 Will there be any changes to rules regarding heading the ball?
 If a team chooses not to play this year, would we lose our spot in our division?
 Who is responsible for providing sanitizer for the ball and any other equipment at the field (nets, posts, flags etc.)?
 Will there be Pre-game handshake or shakes at end of game?
 Do any exclusions exist for players with high-risk exposure occupations?
 Will games still be 90 minutes in length?
 If a handball or header occurs during the game, will play be stopped and the ball sanitized?
 Can players wear athletic style masks while playing if they want to?
 Will face masks or shields will be required during play?
 Will there be any goalie-specific rules or regulations for contact?
 Are there recommendations for how to maintain social distance on the side lines while discussing strategy? What about a cheer at the beginning of the game and half time?
 
Insurance
 Would we have to sign anything before playing?
 What is the insurance policy with regards to players contracting COVID-19 while playing in matches?
 Will insurance cover us the same way it has in past seasons?
 
Schedule
 How many games will the season be?
 When would the season start?
 Is there a possibility that the league will delay play for a substantial period of time and undertake a much shorter season? e.g. until November, December, or January?
 Would there be Cup play of any kind?
 How much notice will be given before the season starts to be able to organize our team and maybe have a couple training sessions before the "season" starts?
 If it is determined by the health authority that games need to be cancelled, will they be rescheduled?
 Is there a way to have games every 2 weeks to minimize further possibility of any COVID-19 exposure between the cohorts?
 Would the league consider 7 aside games to allow for smaller cohorts?
 
COVID-19
 Will there be any mandatory or random testing/will players be asked to take a test and provide results?
 Will players be required to take COVID-19 tests?
 What is the detailed plan if someone tests positive for COVID-19?
 How can we know for sure that the teams we are playing against have met the heath guidelines?
 Will temperatures be checked before a game?
 What would the notification process be if there was a positive case within the cohort?
 
Referees
 Will the referees be checking players for any health issues prior to play, or is that the responsibility of the coaches/players?
 Will it be the same referee at each game? Is the referee included in the cohort?
 Will the referee be sanitizing the ball after they check it before the kick-off for proper air pressure?
 
Fees/Fines/Cancelations
 Forfeit Fines:
 General Fines
 Will the fees be adjusted for the delayed season start?
 What will happen to player/team fees if the league gets shut down part way through? Will these fees be reimbursed?
 
Questions
What numbers would be allowed at matches / team if roster size is larger than 18?
 A “Soccer Cohort” is defined as a closed, smaller group of no more than 50 individuals or up to four (4) teams who participate in soccer activity and remain together for the duration of a phase. The intent is to try to keep the interaction to the same cohort and group of people. It is understood that if four (4) teams is used, the number of individuals within the cohort may go above the 50 limit (for example, four teams with rosters of 18 players) BUT it must be kept to four teams.
Will there be any reshuffling of Divisions so that each Division contains a multiple of 4 teams to form cohorts?
 The league will try its best to break each division down to cohorts of 4 teams but there may be some circumstances where a cohort only has 3 teams.
What is the process if a player in the cohort gets COVID 19 – based on timing?
 Upon notification of a positive COVID-19 case, MWSL would contact BC Health who would take over and provide contact tracing of any players that may have been exposed. Via Sport has advised BC Soccer that if an outbreak occurs, to follow the Via Sport outbreak plan which will provide next steps and any action required (i.e. postponement, cancellation, etc.) It would also depend on the contact with each team and timeframe.
How will the cohort be determined and is it possible to try and keep the cohort in close proximity (location wise)?
 The cohorts will be determined geographically where possible but there will be some travel involved in some divisions.
Will it be one cohort for the entire season, or a cohort followed by two week break before entering a new cohort?
 The proposed plan would have each cohort play six games then have a two week break before being placed in another cohort. The break will be determined by the start of season. If cohort participants (or teams) need to be adjusted, a 2-week break between activities is required.
Are players able to play in a different league at the same time?
 Via Sport and BC Soccer recommend players avoid mixing with other groups as much as possible. The League suggests that players limit participation to one sport to reduce the exposure to other cohorts.

All players and teams must follow “BC Soccer’s Return to Play Phase 2 Plan – Recommendations and Guidelines” and we understand this will impact players that participate in programing offered by more than one team such as supplemental training. Participants must keep to the one cohort that they choose/sign up to be part of. If supplemental training occurs outside of the cohort, this must be done under Phase 1 Return to Play Term (distance training/no contact guidelines) in order to ensure the participant/player is not in two cohorts.

Cohort teams should keep players together in designated groups and make sure that each group avoids mixing with other groups as much as possible.
Will all teams in a cohort play at one specific field?
 No, teams would still need to travel to opposition fields.
Will we still have exposure risk because we have no idea where the other teams’ players have been?
 Yes, there is always a risk for exposure.
 
Rules
Throw-ins:
 No throw- ins, kick-ins only; handled as an indirect free kick. Teams are suggested to keep the ball below waist level in the interests of good sportsmanship.
Spitting and nose clearing:
 Although spitting and nose clearing occasionally occurs in soccer it is not a pleasant part of our sport, even under normal circumstances. The intent is to educate players and participants to not engage in these actions because, with the current situation, they are even more unwanted. Based on guidance from Canada Soccer, referees are only able to address spitting when directed at someone, not when spitting or nose clearing occurs when not directed at someone. Therefore, the expectation is player and coaches will respect each other to not engage in these actions and that coaches will substitute their players who do. We understand that this raises concerns with gamesmanship; however, we are hopeful that our soccer community will work together under these terms so we can all enjoy soccer under the circumstances.
Sideline social distance:
 Sideline activity must always comply with the distancing measures and recommendations, along with any gathering restrictions issued by the BC health authorities, including the arrival and departure of players (except for family members or persons residing in the same household). As of document date – 6 feet between people is still suggested, however gatherings of 50 people or less is still required (for soccer, unless otherwise stated by the municipality/city, this is 50 people per regular 11 v 11 full-size soccer field). Use cones and other equipment to ensure appropriate spacing is in place to support off-field distancing. Players and team personnel on the sidelines must adhere to 6 feet distances per the BC health authorities.
Coach guidelines
 Coaches may be counted outside of the 50 individuals if they are able to maintain physical distancing at all times.
Promotion and Relegation:
 The 2020-21 Season will not have promotion and relegation. The 2021-22 season will have teams placed in the same divisions they would be at the start of the 2020-21 season.
Permits (Intra Club Permit/Youth To Senior Permit/Affiliated Team Permit):
 No permits (YTSP, ICP or ATP) will be allowed this season as this would introduce players from other cohorts which is not feasible at this time.
 
General
With the kick-in instead of a throw-in, could this result in potential “corners” when the kick-in is in the attacking third?
 The League is suggesting all kick-ins be below waist or a side footed pass in the interests of sportsmanship. We ask that teams not take undue advantage of the new kick-in rule as we all try to adapt to this change in the game.
Will there be any changes to rules regarding heading the ball?
 The intent is to limit touchpoints. Players can head the ball; however, it is encouraged to try and limit heading in training environments.
If a team chooses not to play this year, would we lose our spot in our division?
 No, teams opting out from the fall 2020-2021 season will still have their positions next season.
Who is responsible for providing sanitizer for the ball and any other equipment at the field (nets, posts, flags etc.)?
 It is the teams’ responsibility to provide hand sanitizer to their players. It is also still the teams’ responsibility for providing nets, corner flags etc.
Will there be Pre-game handshake or shakes at end of game?
 No, we ask all teams to refrain from pre or post game handshakes.
Do any exclusions exist for players with high-risk exposure occupations?
 No, all players must evaluate the risks of participating in sport and determine if they wish to play. From a League perspective there are no penalties for a player choosing not to play this season and we would hope that all teams will respect the choices of players
Will games still be 90 minutes in length?
 There will be no change in the length of game time.
If a handball or header occurs during the game, will play be stopped and the ball sanitized?
 Play will not be stopped to wipe down the soccer ball after handballs or headers.
Can players wear athletic style masks while playing if they want to?
 Yes, but the masks must not have any sharp edges (i.e. bendable wire in the nose bridge or plastic clips on elastic straps).
Will face masks or shields will be required during play?
 Masks are not required during the game but are suggested to be worn on the sidelines.
Will there be any goalie-specific rules or regulations for contact?
 At this time, the only goalie specific rule is that each goalie must have a dedicated pair of gloves which are not shared with other players.
Are there recommendations for how to maintain social distance on the side lines while discussing strategy? What about a cheer at the beginning of the game and half time?
 The League requires all teams to adhere to provincial health authorities’ guidelines and maintain social distance on the sidelines. Teams should be able to speak and be heard while maintaining this distance. The League would recommend conducting team cheers from players’ positions on the field and sidelines to maintain social distancing.
 
Insurance
Would we have to sign anything before playing?
 Yes, all participants will need to sign a waiver during registration that they understand the risks involved in participating in a contact sport.
What is the insurance policy with regards to players contracting COVID-19 while playing in matches?
 There is no coverage with regards to players contracting COVID 19 – the insurance is related only to injuries which occur during games or practices which are compliant with BC Soccer’s Return to Play phase guidelines.
Will insurance cover us the same way it has in past seasons?
 Yes, other than any coverage for COVID-19.
 
Schedule
How many games will the season be?
 The exact number of games are unknown at this time as it would depend on the start of the season however a cohort of four teams could play six games then change cohorts.
When would the season start?
 Decision will be made on or before Thanksgiving per communications sent out.
Is there a possibility that the league will delay play for a substantial period of time and undertake a much shorter season? e.g. until November, December, or January?
 Yes, we are currently looking at these options.
Would there be Cup play of any kind?
 No, not this season.
How much notice will be given before the season starts to be able to organize our team and maybe have a couple training sessions before the "season" starts?
 We will try to give teams as much notice as possible (ideally 2 weeks).
If it is determined by the health authority that games need to be cancelled, will they be rescheduled?
 Any cancelled games will be impacted by required self-isolation periods and amount of time remaining in the season. While the games would ideally be rescheduled, the League cannot guarantee that all games would be rescheduled.
Is there a way to have games every 2 weeks to minimize further possibility of any COVID-19 exposure between the cohorts?
 This is not possible with field schedules.
Would the league consider 7 aside games to allow for smaller cohorts?
 There is the possibility of a 7v7 tournament prior to the spring season but no plans to have a 7v7 season.
 
COVID-19
Will there be any mandatory or random testing/will players be asked to take a test and provide results?
 No.
Will players be required to take COVID-19 tests?
 No.
What is the detailed plan if someone tests positive for COVID-19?
 Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should report to your local health authority who will advise what steps are necessary. Once the individual has spoken with the health authority, they should advise the MSWL if they have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. The MWSL will then contact the BC health authority to instruct on next steps and any action required (i.e. postponement, cancellation, quarantine, etc.).
How can we know for sure that the teams we are playing against have met the heath guidelines?
 We cannot know for sure.
Will temperatures be checked before a game?
 No.
What would the notification process be if there was a positive case within the cohort?
 BC Health would take over and contact anyone affected.
 
Referees
Will the referees be checking players for any health issues prior to play, or is that the responsibility of the coaches/players?
 No, the referees will not be asking for any health questions that is the responsibility of the coaches and players.
Will it be the same referee at each game? Is the referee included in the cohort?
 There are not enough referees to have one dedicated to a specific cohort however the League will make the best efforts to have the same referee where possible. The League cannot guarantee that referees are not involved in other cohorts.
Will the referee be sanitizing the ball after they check it before the kick-off for proper air pressure?
 No, ball sanitization is the responsibility of the teams.
 
Fees/Fines/Cancelations
Forfeit Fines:
 Due to COVID-19, the MWSL will be waiving all forfeit fines for the 2020-2021 season.
General Fines
 All other fines will remain in full effect.
Will the fees be adjusted for the delayed season start?
 Unknown at this time. It would be dependent on how many games we can get scheduled.
What will happen to player/team fees if the league gets shut down part way through? Will these fees be reimbursed?
 Once it is determined the League will be hosting a season, teams will have to decide if they want to participate or not. There would be no refund from team fees or player fees once they have determined they want to play and confirm registration. Players will need to determine if they want to play as well and once registered there will be no refund.