12 Nov. 2021
The top priority of the International Handball Federation (IHF) has always been – and continues to be – the health of its athletes and all stakeholders involved in IHF events. Therefore, the IHF approved a comprehensive and thorough safety plan for all stakeholders participating in the 25th IHF Women’s World Championship, set to take place in Spain from 1 to 19 December 2021.
Handball has been thoroughly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning in 2020, but the IHF proved that – with strict protocols place – international competitions can still be successfully held, as underlined by the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship in Egypt in January 2021.
The situation around COVID-19 is constantly evolving and despite the vaccine rollout throughout the world, an infection-free environment cannot be guaranteed, irrespective of the conditions. However, the IHF’s main objective is to enforce a plan that aims to organise Spain 2021 in a healthy and safe environment.
Therefore, the ‘Spain 2021 COVID-19 Precaution Plan’ has been developed and communicated to all 32 teams competing in the 25th IHF Women’s World Championship.
The preventive measures to be taken before, during and after Spain 2021 are included in the plan, with the following key topics, points and recommendations, including but not limited to:
- General information about COVID-19, including World Health Organization (WHO) information;
- Infection transmission routes (all stakeholders at Spain 2021 must maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres to other persons where possible);
- Hygiene guidelines, including detailed information about hand and mask hygiene;
- The current health situation in Spain, including the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the current regulations set regarding the entry in the country, the vaccines currently permitted in Spain and the measures in place to avoid the spread of the disease;
- National Federation responsibilities at home before travelling to Spain 2021, including a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test carried out within 72 hours prior to arrival
- Positive case management, with the current protocol in place subjective to the considerations of the epidemiological evolution, to be followed by the local authorities
- International and local transportation procedures;
- Travel guidelines and general provisions for the training and playing arenas
- Testing regime during the event;
- Match precautions such as no handshaking before and after the match, an expanded bench area, mandatory mask usage except for players, team officials and referees on the field of play;
- All participants (teams, team guides, IHF, IHF service providers, IHF partners, OC) must be vaccinated;
- All accredited media (with zone 4 access) must be vaccinated;
- All people involved in the World Championship (volunteers, drivers, team guides, etc.) must present a vaccination certificate and have to follow the guidelines mentioned in article 2.1;
- Further media precautions: to maintain a least of 1.5 metres distance and regular handwashing. Media activities are permitted, but the attendees must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth at all times. Only the player or official being interviewed may remove it;
- Spectators: Depending on the development of the pandemic, and the regulations in force in the Autonomous Communities of the host cities during the World Championship, the Organising Committee will decide on the capacity allowed for the matches. The current number of spectators allowed inside the venues is 80% of the hall capacity.
A COVID-19 Supervisory Panel will meet every day during the World Championship to review the procedures and positive COVID-19 cases, if applicable. It is responsible for confirming disqualifications of players, teams, coaches and referees and the remaining stakeholders in case of any positive test result, and decides on possible competition-related consequences.
Click here to see the full Spain 2021 COVID-19 Precaution Plan.