There will be no more kissing the ball for good luck in South American soccer.
Also, forget about exchanging jerseys — and even spitting or blowing noses on the field.
The governing body of soccer in the region has released a series of specific regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic to protect everyone’s health when the Copa Libertadores — the continent’s biggest club competition — eventually resumes.
There is no date set for when the tournament will restart, and it may not be until September as South American nations continue to struggle to contain the virus. The Copa Libertadores and the second-tier Copa Sudamericana were suspended in March.
CONMEBOL approved changes to its regulations to adapt to the pandemic late Wednesday, adding the requirement to test players and others involved in matches. It will create a “medical registry” to keep track of results, and those who refuse to be tested won’t be allowed to compete. Clubs that don’t cooperate can be fined.
Among the additions to the regulations is the prohibition for “players and officials to kiss the ball before, during and after the match.” They also won’t be allowed to spit or blow their noses while on the field or on the benches.
Their body temperatures will be checked before the matches, and everyone on the bench will be required to wear masks at all times.
Players will be “prohibited to exchange or give away their shirts or any piece of their uniform to opposing players, teammates or any other person.” The traditional exchange of pennants between team captains before matches also won’t be allowed.