The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has held discussions this week over competition scheduling and protocols that will be introduced to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the sport.

Shortly following the meeting CONMEBOL announced its news rules in which footballers competing in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana have been banned from kissing the ball, swapping shirts with other athletes, and spitting while on the field. 

CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez explained the importance of keeping regular contact with its members, albeit in a virtual manor: “These follow-up meetings with the members of the council allow us to have a real and updated view of the situation in each of the federations. It also allows us to align our goals, protocols and new measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our activities.”

The council has also confirmed that CONMEBOL’s qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup will remain unchanged as it intends to follow the current FIFA calendar. Moreover, the federation’s member associations will receive approximately £11.5m from FIFA’s Evolution Fund. According to CONMEBOL, around 400 clubs in South America will receive part of this money.

Face masks will also be worn by substitutes during games and players taking post-match interviews to further prevent the virus from spreading during CONMEBOL competitions. 

Moreover, every participant in a matchday must also use their own individual bottles of water, whilst players and officials have to take temperature checks prior to kick-off to ensure that they or fit to play.

Both the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana have been suspended after the global health pandemic postponed or cancelled the majority of live-sports globally.

Last week, the Medical Commission met with two experts to come up with a document with recommendations from the authorities of the different member associations. This document, optimised by doctors from different South American countries, will then be presented as a working basis for the governments of each country of the associations.

“Our main goal in CONMEBOL will always be to safeguard the health of South American football. For this reason, we will seek maximum coordination and consensus for the optimal implementation of these measures,” explained the sports organisation.