FOOTBALL NSW has stressed that every protocol was followed to ensure it was safe for players from Bankstown, where there are active COVID-19 cases, to play in Bathurst on Saturday.
Community members took to social media over the weekend to express their disbelief that Bankstown City Football Club (FC) were in Bathurst at all, concerned that players and supporters could have brought the virus back to Bathurst.
The Bankstown Local Government Area and Bankstown City Plaza are both on the NSW Government website's list of locations for increased testing and surveillance due to people in the area testing positive.
According to the website's heat map, there were six active cases as of Monday and Bankstown has had a total of 20 cases.
Meanwhile, Bathurst hasn't had an active case since April 23 and residents want it to stay that way.
One resident who contacted the Western Advocate said it seemed "outrageous and completely unethical for them to have hosted this team under the current set of circumstances".
After speaking with Bankstown City FC, FNSW confirmed to the Western Advocate that the club does not have any players with COVID-19.
The players who attended were from four teams aged under 13 to under 16, and the FNSW spokesperson said all players and parents travelled to Bathurst in their own vehicles.
"There were no buses used to transport players or parents to Bathurst," they said.
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To allow community sport to continue during the pandemic, strict protocols have to be adhered to.
The FNSW spokesperson said the Bankstown teams "strictly followed" the club's COVID-19 safety plan, as well as FNSW's COVID-19 safety protocols.
"All players are closely monitored for symptoms and are regularly temperature tested," they said.
"All players were temperature tested before travelling and participating on Saturday."
The spokesperson also noted that Bankstown City FC accepts players from all over Sydney into its teams and 70 per cent of players who play for Bankstown do not come from the local area.
According to a FNSW statement on COVID safe protocols, games can still be played in areas where there have been cases and with players who come from these areas.
People who live in or have visited these areas are asked to monitor for symptoms and, if any develop, to get tested before participating in the sport.
To help ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place, all players, parents, officials and spectators are required to comply with the following:
- Wash and/or sanitise hands before and after attending all training and games
- Players arrive dressed and ready to train or play
- Limit the use of changerooms
- Players must comply with the 1.5-metre social distancing rule (except during games)
- No shaking hands, high fives or hugging other players, match officials, team officials or spectators
- No player walkouts prior to matches
- No player huddles
- Do not share drink bottles
- Do not share containers of food, including oranges. Players should bring their own food and snacks.
- Limit the number of spectators that accompany players to training and games
- Avoid bringing anyone who is elderly or may be at high or increased risk of illness
- Do not attend football if you have flu like symptoms or are feeling unwell
- Do not attend football if you have attended a COVID Location in accordance with NSW Health advices
- Spectators must observe the 1.5m social distancing rule at all times unless from the same household
- All participants and spectators must cover their coughs and sneezes
- Players and spectators must not socialize or assemble in groups before, during or after training or games
- Once training and games are finished depart the venue as soon as possible
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you feel unwell or develop cold or flu like symptoms