International sport environment bodies call for global health protocols for venue operations

A group of leading sport-oriented non-governmental organisation (NGOs) have joined with the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) to launch a campaign calling for independently-assessed health and safety practices at sports venues.

Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI), Green Sports Alliance (GSA), Sports Environment Alliance (SEA), Golf Environment Organisation and EcoAthletes are among those working with IWBI to promote the importance of independent assessments to be introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Together they are encouraging all sporting federations, leagues, venues and teams to enhance their venues’ health and safety protocols and assure that protocols are assessed by “a credible third party” that focuses on health and facility operations.

Dr Allen Hershkowitz, Chair of SandSI’s board and environmental science advisor to the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball, commented “addressing the pandemic from a global perspective is of the utmost importance.

“We need a coordinated global effort to give fans confidence that their favourite teams and venues are taking every precaution so they can feel confident returning to the stadiums and arenas.”

IWBI President and Chief Executive, Rachel Hodgdon, noted “we know that there are myriad league and organizational protocols that have been established and a patchwork of varying municipal, regional and national guidelines that have been laid out.

“But our customers needed something that could help them communicate clearly and succinctly that the health and well-being of their employees, guests and community stakeholders were the top priority and specific strategies were being implemented, built on the available science.”

During the campaign, the partners will promote the WELL Health-Safety Rating as a possible solution.

The protocol was developed in response to acute health threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and focuses on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder engagement.

It was designed to help organisations to prioritise the health of their staff, visitors and stakeholders and more than 30 sports and entertainment venues have enrolled in or achieved the rating since September 2020.

Green Sports Alliance Executive Director, Roger McClendon added “the number one priority of sports teams, leagues, and venues is to get fans back in the stands safely.

“Helping ensure the health and wellness of employees, players, and fans within arenas and stadiums so they can confidently experience the thrill of live sports together continues to be a major focus for the Green Sports Alliance.

“IWBI and the WELL Health-Safety Rating are valuable resources to ensure that Green Sports Alliance members have the expert science, knowledge, tools and procedures to help provide a safer environment for everyone.”

Image shows Quayclean staff at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium.

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