FFSL Requests Sports Minister for Vaccination
By Mustaq Sydeen
The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) is reportedly looking to get all players, coaching staff and officials (from the 10 teams taking part in the Super League) vaccinated against COVID-19, after three positive cases were detected during the Super League pre-season matches which kicked-off on Wednesday at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
Ceylon Today learns Red Star SC Goalkeeper coach M. Imthiaz and Renown SCs M. Imran (Coach) and Dilan Madushanka (right winger) were found positive following PCR tests carried out on participating teams, including coaching staff and officials, prior to the commencement of the tournament.
Sources from Red Star and Renown confirmed those found positive have been directed to follow Government’s health protocol on COVID-19, and everybody else who had been in close contact with them have been instructed to self- quarantine.
As a precautionary measure FFSL has decided to cancel the pre-season fixture between Renown SC and Defenders SC scheduled on Thursday (18) at Sugathadasa Stadium. However, up to now no decision has been taken to push back or postpone the other pre-season matches, where all other fixtures will be played as per schedule behind closed doors.
As per FFSL sources, the governing body has requested Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa to get their players vaccinated in order to continue the inaugural tournament without a hitch. The first phase of COVID-19 vaccination began a few weeks ago in Sri Lanka, with the frontline workers - healthcare staff and sanitation workers - getting vaccinated.
However, it is reported Navy Sea Hawks players and support staff have already been administered the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the Super League season.
“After a few positive cases among the teams were detected, we are looking to get the COVID vaccine to the players, and have already requested Sports Minister on getting players and officials vaccinated. The Government’s directive is that frontline workers will be the first to get vaccinated, but we are in touch with the Government to get our players vaccinated,” a source at FFSL revealed.
As things stand at the moment, the players have to undergo strict quarantine measures, and are also required to follow certain protocols while living in the bio-secure bubble.
The Super League (pre-season) marked the return of professional football in Sri Lanka after lapse of over 8-months due to COVID-19, and is expected to run through a 2-month season followed by the Original Super League version.
Meanwhile, the third phase of the National Team Residential Training Camp will commence from 19 to 24 February. According to a FFSL media release, the purpose of these training camps in-between the Super League Pre-Season matches is to keep the National Team players’ mentally and physically fit and maintain their technical skill levels at an optimum level in preparation for the matches in June.
Players in the Residential Training Camp will be released to their Clubs two days before the Super League Pre-Season match dates.