Goalball players will need to adhere to a new set of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 if the sport is to safely return amid the pandemic ©Getty Images

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) has released guidelines hoped to ensure the safe return of goalball during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main objective of the IBSA’s goalball back-to-competition guidelines is to "reduce contact between teams, officials and other participants".

The 14-page document covers a series of topics including transport, accommodation, venues, matches, medical assistance and medal ceremonies.

Two-metre social distancing must be "vigorously sustained" off the court, with competitors urged not to celebrate by hugging or touching team mates.

Substitutes are expected to be guided onto court using the voice of a coach, while officials will need to sanitise their hands "before and immediately after" the eyeshade check procedure with each athlete.

Face coverings must be worn when coaching from the bench and players are also expected to wear them when off the court.

As part of the countermeasures, "sweat droplets should be cleaned immediately" if they appear on the court as the IBSA bids to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Two-metre social distancing must be
Two-metre social distancing must be "vigorously sustained" during tournaments ©Getty Images

A statement in IBSA’s goalball guidelines read: "This document imposes additional obligations on everyone who is participating in an IBSA Goalball competition during COVID-19.

"The rules, policies and procedures identified in this document will be enforced just like any other provisions in IBSA’s goalball rules of play until such time as an effective and proven vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered and is made readily available throughout the world.

"This document has been developed to support the safe return to IBSA goalball competition activities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These guidelines are defined for all the stakeholders including athletes, team staff, officials, volunteers and other staff including spectators (if they are permitted) involved in Goalball competitions to prevent COVID-19 infection.

"These countermeasures are also intended to support event organisers and all IBSA sanctioned competitions will be operated according to these guidelines."

The IBSA added it was working on regulations for other sports, including football and judo, which will be published when finalised.

The full guidelines can be read by clicking here.