British Columbia sports teams can now compete in groups of 10 to 100 people

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Major sports associations in British Columbia say competition will return to almost normal as they prepare to move into Phase 3 of the plan to reopen the province.Soccer, volleyball, hockey and baseball teams will once again be able to compete, but will be limited to cohorts of 10 to 100 people, depending on the sport.

On Monday, viaSport – the government agency for athletic programs – presented its Return to Sport guidelines, which contain recommendations on how different types of sports can gradually add activities.

Kevin Berar, director of communications at Volleyball BC, says volleyball will be particularly different from Phase 2 with the loosening of Phase 3 restrictions.

“We haven’t had any contact beforehand when it comes to the high five, the handshakes, the net blocking, anything contact-related,” he said. “It’s changing now, so we allow that as long as it’s done within your cohort. “

The BC Soccer Association has announced that the competition between the teams will begin on September 7th. (Shutterstock)

He says the cohorts will be capped at 100 and will include teams of similar ages and skill levels. There is no limit to the number of teams and a cohort could consist of four teams, each with 25 players and staff.

The new guidelines rank each sporting activity in terms of the risk of transmitting COVID-19 from lowest to highest based on the number of contacts. Softball, baseball, volleyball, and soccer are all classified in “Group B” of the guidelines and are permitted for cohorts of up to 100 people.

According to the BC Soccer Association, soccer cohorts of up to 50 people will start playing on September 7. Some private organizations do not have teams and focus on training and will be allowed to have 50 trainees at a time.

However, the association notes that each municipality has its own safety precautions and capacity limits on the ground.

The softball and baseball associations feel they have a particular advantage.

“We have a few situations where there are brief interactions where close contact is possible, whether it’s a hitter and catcher at home plate or during games at bases,” said David Laing, Executive Director of Baseball BC.

“But we think that because we are away during these meetings, our athletes are very safe. ”

If the leagues want to change the composition of the cohorts, they will have to wait 14 days before playing a new team. Berar says a break of a few weeks is pretty typical in volleyball, even in normal years.

“We still do not allow, viaSports does not allow, interprovincial or international travel for tournaments. ”

Spectators will be allowed provided they maintain a physical distance and stay within the capacity of the facility.

Berar says beach volleyball has so far benefited from slightly more relaxed restrictions due to being played outdoors, but in the future indoor and outdoor volleyball will follow the same guidelines.

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