The General Secretary of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), Jaswar Umar, confirmed yesterday (26) that they are planning to continue their post COVID-19 operations with the aid of technology.
Football in Sri Lanka, just like every other sport all around the globe, has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with practices being stalled and matches being postponed indefinitely. However, Jaswar affirmed that the FFSL is planning to shift to online-based platforms to conduct their operations, with an online referee preparation course already being underway.
“We have already begun a referee’s preparation course via video technology, where 30 top referees are taking part once a week with live discussions, real match situation analysis and new amendment to the laws. They were given homework and online exams with a set deadline and all of them are enjoying this new technology.”
The FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification rounds were in process when the pandemic situation escalated. The Sri Lanka Men’s National Football Team was scheduled to play their remaining three matches against North Korea, South Korea and Lebanon respectively. However, those matches have been postponed by FIFA while the new dates are yet to be announced.
Umar also asserted that the new Super League tournament, a professional football tournament organized by the FFSL has been postponed to the latter part of this year, among other activities that has been postponed due to the current situation.
“Our day-to-day activities have definitely been affected just like other organizations, due to the current outbreak. Our regular competitions, national team trainings, youth competitions, women’s football activities, coach educations and referees’ courses were affected, and we will look at alternative solutions for our activities when the situation of the country improves.”
Furthermore, a proposal to provide relief to clubs, players, referees and coaches has been put forward by the FFSL to football’s governing body FIFA, to which Umar expects a positive response.
“We are already in communication with FIFA and provided some suggestions on relief work to clubs, players, referees and coaches. They are considering our suggestions in a positive manner. I am incredibly positive we will hear some good news from FIFA in the next few weeks. Once we hear from FIFA, we will provide a very good relief package to all who are affected during this pandemic.”
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The FFSL has also taken measures to provide assistance to Sri Lankan players and coaches who are stranded in Maldives via the Maldives Football Association.
Furthermore, the FFSL is now drawing up plans to conduct an online ‘D’ coaching certificate, where the participants will follow online lectures using video technology, which will be followed by an online examination and a practical test by the end of the year. Those who pass both the theory and practical examinations will be awarded certificates at the end of the course.