SOCCER IS BACK IN ONTARIO! GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO HAS ANNOUNCED COMPETITION WILL RETURN IN STEP 2


OUTDOOR TEAM SPORTS, WHICH INCLUDES LEAGUES AND REGULAR COMPETITION, WITH NO SPECIFIED LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS OR TEAMS PARTICIPATING, OR NO NEED FOR MODIFIED RULES OF PLAY, CAN COMMENCE ON JUNE 30, 2021.

Ontario Soccer continues to work in consultation with the Government of Ontario and Canada Soccer as we prepare for Return to Play 2021. Ontario Soccer will keep the membership updated with the most recent developments surrounding Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Plan.

The Government of Ontario announced on June 24, 2021 it has further updated the framework for Return to Play in the province, which includes Step 2 of their Re-Opening Plan that is scheduled to commence on June 30, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

As a result of this decision, Ontario Soccer has reviewed the updated regulations and is now providing direction to membership on what Step 2 of the Re-Opening Plan means for our sport’s Return to Play.

Outdoor team sports, which includes leagues and regular competition, with no specified limit on the number of participants or teams participating, or no need for modified rules of play, can commence on June 30, 2021.

In preparation for this opening date for our sport, Ontario Soccer registered member organizations are required to complete these critical sport specific steps and directives from Ontario Soccer.

  1. REGISTRATION - All affiliated Clubs and Academies must register their participants in OSCAR – the official participant registry of Ontario Soccer.

  2. All affiliated Clubs and Academies must read and understand Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide (the plan) – Protocols and Recommendations document.

  3. All affiliated Clubs and Academies must prepare their own Return to Play Plans for use within their membership. Leagues should adopt similar practices. Use of Ontario Soccer’s Return to Play Guide (the plan) is strongly recommended.

  4. All affiliated Clubs and Academies must complete Canada Soccer’s Risk Assessment Tool. Please do not complete this tool until you have completed step 1, 2 and 3 above. Access by each Club and Academy must be done so by one single source. Do not forward or share the on-line link tool with others.

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To access Canada Soccer’s Online Risk Assessment Tool click HERE.

(once completed you will receive an automated message assessing your submission)

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Last year, Ontario Soccer lobbied for and secured the Supporting Ontario Recovery Act and COVID-19 Liability Protection for its members, which ensures, that if they follow all protocols, staff, volunteers and organizations are protected when legal action arises as a result of the public health situation.

However, this protection is only available to registered members and their participants registered in OSCAR with Ontario Soccer. Failure to register participants will result in registered member organizations being exposed to liability risk and lack of protection.

The Ontario Soccer Return to Play Guide/Plan has been updated to reflect the Government of Ontario’s Step 2 of the three-stage framework. Information on Step 3 is still to be determined by the Government of Ontario as official regulations are not available at this time;

Step 2: League Competition Can Commence

Date: June 30, 2021

Restrictions: Spectator capacity limits at 25% for facilities, Leagues must review and use the Return to Play Guide for operations.

Note: The Government of Ontario has specified that team sport must avoid contact, or be modified to avoid contact. Ontario Soccer wishes to clarify that soccer is considered a non-contact sport and incidental contact (i.e. prolonged contact) will be regulated, as it always would, under the Laws of the Game.

Step 3: Continuation of Team Training and League Games

Date: 21 days before next step (TBA by Government of Ontario)

Conditions: 70-80% adults with one-dose of the vaccine and 25% fully vaccinated allows for: Indoor Sport and Recreational Facilities to re-open.

Restrictions: Subject to further information from the Government of Ontario.

The steps outlined above apply equally to all recreational, competitive and high performance level soccer.

Note: Ontario Soccer will determine timelines for each Step in alignment with the Province of Ontario provincial health authorities involving government regulations, restrictions and guidelines. Should any Club or Academy encounter any implementation challenges please contact your District Association or Ontario Soccer.

This will be communicated via future Action Bulletins when applicable.

The Return to Play Guide also includes:

  • Equipment Safety Practices

  • Safe and Clean Environment Protocols for Fields, Clubhouse, Offices

  • Risk Management and Insurance Information

  • Emergency Response Plan

  • Legal Considerations, Updated Participant Waivers

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Ontario Soccer member organizations have previously received pertinent resources, marketing collateral and related information for your use as part of your own Return to Play, Pitch In. Play ON! marketing launch activations.

Please review and consider using the resources provided as we Pitch In and Play ON! this summer.

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Today’s announcement is an exciting one for our sport and a testament to what can be accomplished through the profile and unity around the “beautiful game”. The lobbying of the Government of Ontario by Ontario Soccer and our membership has ensured that our athletes will now be returning to real competition, for the first time in nearly 15 months, since the pandemic began.

Soccer will play a special role in helping our participants and communities recover from this pandemic and we will show how the power of sport can serve to transform and empower our youth as we Pitch In and Play ON! this summer.


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