The International Cricket Council (ICC) has placed the onus of any bio-bubble breach during the T20 World Cup on the team managements, but warned them that they should “treat it very seriously”.
“The ICC has sent out a detailed plan to every nation participating in the T20 World Cup, with a good understanding of the expectations of participant now established. It has placed the onus on the team management of each squad to ensure that expectations are met.
“We’re working towards there not being breaches. If people understand the rules and they know that maintaining discipline is the answer to this problem and means we won’t have issues that disrupt the tournament or their own enjoyment of it — so I don’t anticipate it — if there is a breach that is a matter for the management of that squad and we would expect them to treat it very seriously,” said Alex Marshall, ICC Head of Integrity on Thursday.
Detailing the protocols, ICC said in a statement that players arriving for the tournament will go into six days isolation during which they will have three Covid-19 tests to ensure no one entering the next stage of the process is infected.
“After those six days, participants are moved into a managed event environment for the duration of the tournament, undergoing periodic testing. Everybody taking part in the event has been fully vaccinated,” the ICC said in a statement.
With roughly 2000 individuals — including broadcasters, staff and players — set to be involved in the tournament and many of those entering managed environments, the ICC has created a setting that “is safe from both a physical and mental health perspective”.
Marshall said the ICC had spoken to people involved in overseeing biosafety at major international events, such as the Tokyo Olympics, Formula 1, Euro 2020 and IPL 2021.
“We’ve spoken to the people who oversaw biosafety for the Tokyo Olympics, we’ve spoken to Formula 1, the Euros, of course the IPL which has been running locally in recent weeks here, and there has been a lot of bilateral cricket that plenty of learning has come from,” Marshall said. “We’ve taken some good advice.”
With players, broadcasters and staff alike going into bubble environments, the ICC is making mental health and well-being a priority.
“A psychologist will be available 24 hours a day for anyone who seeks it, while other measures are being taken to make the bubble as enjoyable an environment as possible. We’re conscious that this (bubble) does raise mental health and well-being issues for everybody taking part,” Marshall said.
“We’ve learned those lessons from Tokyo, from cricket elsewhere in the world, from Euros, and we’ll be making sure that we really look after the people who are here and we acknowledge that some of them have seen rather too many bubbles and will be feeling the strain. There’s a number of things we’re doing which includes making materials available to people, giving them access to psychological support if they need it.
“From a day-to-day basis, making sure we keep the environment friendly and pleasant for them and it’s quite clear that we care about them and will make sure we look after them throughout the event,” Marshall said.
He said that, a positive test recipient will go into 10 days isolation, while close contacts will have to undergo six days’ isolation. “Talking to all the other global events we should expect that we will get some positive tests,” Marshall said.
“Where someone is confirmed as a positive test it will be referred to the Biosafety Scientific Advisory Group for direction from them. But in simple terms someone who is confirmed as positive will isolate for 10 days and someone who is defined as a close contact, which is very close physical contact for more than 15 minutes without wearing a mask, then that person will isolate for six days,” he said.