Covid-19 swab tests for SPL players and match officials this week
The Singapore Premier League (SPL) will schedule swab tests for its players and match officials in the coming days, which could pave the way for the professional competition's resumption within the next fortnight.
Clubs were told of the new protocol in a Zoom meeting with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) last night, with initial tests scheduled to be completed by Sunday.
In response to TNP's queries, FAS general secretary Yazeen Buhari said: "The SPL resumption is dependent on clearance by the relevant government agencies.
"The clubs have been training in full since Sept 1 and an all-clear from the swab tests will be a big step towards a restart.
"The players and officials will be at the forefront of the football action and thus we are prioritising them for this initial testing."
The number of new daily cases in the community has remained stable at an average of fewer than one case per day in the past two weeks, prompting the easing of measures at the workplace and some events.
On the SPL's possible resumption, infectious diseases specialist Dr Leong Hoe Nam told TNP: "Everyone is running around without a mask calling it exercise. In football, they run around too with a ball... That's OK."
It is understood that testing will be done once every fortnight. Asked about this, Dr Leong said that the risk is low overall and two weeks is a figure to start with, perhaps to show that we are trying to be careful as we implement the restarting of sports.
FAS president Lim Kia Tong said after the association's annual congress last Saturday that they are hoping to restart the SPL in "the first part of October".
However, the participation of title holders Brunei DPMM, who have yet to resume full training, remains uncertain.
While elated that the competition, which was suspended in March, is inching closer to its resumption, Tanjong Pagar United coach Hairi Su'ap emphasised the need to remain cautious.
He said: "The swab test is a must. While it's good that if the league restarts, players will be able to fight for next year's contracts, we must continue to follow the protocol and observe personal hygiene."