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Football training with social distancing norms begins in Qatar

Covid19 -ve players and officials of Qatar Stars League check into team hotels

QNB Qatar Stars League (QSL) players and officials who underwent Covid-19 tests under the supervision of Ministry of Public Health and were found negative have checked into different hotels on Wednesday as Qatar is gearing up to resume its top notch football action next month.

Officials and players of the 12 QSL teams underwent tests on Monday and Tuesday at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Stadium in Al Sadd and took part in their first training session.

The Covid-19 tests were the first step towards the resumption of football in Qatar. The first phase of the training will last from June 10 to June 24, with teams taking precautionary measures and maintaining social distancing. The second round of Covid-19 tests is scheduled for June 24 and 25, from when the teams will train in small groups until the restart of the league.

The protocol developed by the QSL is to reduce and control the risk of virus spreading between team members and players, as they return to training and action. It follows all preventive and precautionary measures, and a workshop was organised for all technical staff involved to explain the procedures for training during the first phase.

The testing procedure aims to reduce and control the risk of virus spreading between team members and players, as they return to training and action. It follows all preventive and precautionary measures.

A number of players as well as technical and administrative staff underwent the tests on the first day. After completion of tests, they will return to their homes under self-quarantine until the test results come.

In the event of a positive case, he will undergo the procedures of Ministry of Public Health.

Ensuring the health and safety of players as well as technical and administrative staff is one of the most important priorities, Ahmed Khellil Abbassi, Executive Director of Competition and Football Development had said earlier.

“Players will return to training and under go another round of tests on June 24-25,” Abbasi said.

According to Abbasi, the players will start training as a team from June 25 onwards, a month ahead of the resumption of the QSL as Week 18 action of the League kicks off on July 24

The QSL will resume on July 24 at the newly-completed Education City Stadium with Qatar Sports Club taking on Al Rayyan in the Round 18 fixture.

Education City Stadium, one of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will play host to remaining five rounds of QNB Stars League along with two other arenas – Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium and Al Janoub Stadium. All three stadiums possess the cooling technology, which will help the players cope with the searing temperatures. The kick-off times for the matches would be 4:45pm and 7pm.

“Yes, air-conditioned stadiums will be used after co-ordination and co-operation with the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy,” Abbassi said.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) last week announced that building works inside the Education City Stadium have ended whereas installation of stadium envelope, seats, arch finishes and roof structure has also been completed.

The mechanical, engineering and plumbing works are also complete at the imposing football stadium. Also on July 24, former champions and currently placed fourth on the points table, Al Gharafa will take on Al Arabi at Al Janoub Stadium – another 2022 FIFA World Cup venue that was inaugurated with fanfare for the Amir Cup final in May 2019.

The QNB Stars League was brought to a halt after 17 rounds due to the Covid-19 pandemic with Al Duhail at the top of the table, four points clear of Rayyan. According to the schedule released by Qatar Football Association, the remaining rounds are set to be completed by August 22 – with 30 matches to be played in just under a month’s time.

Two other matches will be played on the first day of restart of the league. Al Gharafa will take on Al Arabi at the Al Janoub Stadium, while Al Sadd meet Al Khor at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, with both games kicking off at 7.00pm.

Duhail, meanwhile, will be in action on July 25. The league leaders resume their campaign with a match against Umm Salal at the Education City Stadium. Bottom-placed Al Shahaniya then take on Al Ahli at Al Janoub, while Al Wakrah clash with Al Sailiya at Jassim bin Hamad.

The marquee clash between Duhail and reigning champions Al Sadd is slated for August 8 at the latter’s home ground. Al Sadd’s chances of regaining the title are slim as Xavi Hernandez’s side is 10 points behind Duhail.

QSL standings (matches and points)

Al Duhail 17 42
Al Rayyan 17 38
Al Sadd 17 32
Al Gharafa 17 28
Al Arabi 17 24
Al Sailiya 17 23
Al Wakrah 17 19
Al Ahli 17 19
Qatar SC 17 17
Al Khor 17 14
Umm Salal 17 14
Al Shahania 17 10

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