Athletes resuming training at the Sports Authority of India centres across the country will have to sign consent forms, acknowledging the "risks" associated with restarting practice amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the SAI revealed on Thursday. Unveiling its Standard Operating Procedure for resumption of training following relaxation in lockdown guidelines, SAI also gave out the consent forms that the athletes and the National Sports Federations (NSFs) will have to fill up as part of the SOP.
The form requires athletes to acknowledge that they understand that SAI cannot "guarantee complete elimination of the risks" associated with resumption of training amid the pandemic. "I hereby acknowledge the risks associated with resuming training at the centre under the present COVID-19 pandemic situation," the form states.
The SAI said that the signing of consent form would be monitored by its COVID-19 Task Force constituted at each training centre to guide and monitor all trainees and staff. "The Task Force shall ensure each athlete provides a signed consent form declaring their consent and knowledge of all the limitations and risks associated
with training under current scenario," the SOP states.
"Prior to commencement of National Coaching Camp (NCC), NSFs shall submit a written undertaking to abide by all the protocols prescribed in this SOP and various Government orders issued from time to time in the context of COVID-19 prevention The precautionary measures and protocols mentioned in this SOP have been derived from study of best practices and inputs from experts but in no way could guarantee the complete elimination of risks posed by COVID-19 pandemic," it reads.
Besides consent from athletes, the SAI SOP also demanded an undertaking from NSFs. The consent form for the athletes also requires the signature of the chief coach. "I hereby acknowledge the centre cannot guarantee the complete elimination of risks posed by COVID-19 through the implementation of the precautions and
protocols identified by the centre," the consent form adds.
It may be noted that the Table Tennis Federation of India had on Monday sought written consent from its top 16 players to join a training camp after the government allowed sports complexes to open but the wary paddlers said they would prefer to wait a while. Most players, including India's leading players Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan, said they were not comfortable travelling anytime soon amid the COVID-19 pandemic.