Capak Talks Return of Croatian First League, Testing Players, and Club Consequences

May 18, 2020 - The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) and a member of the National Civil Protection Headquarters Krunoslav Capak was a guest on Croatian football television where he commented and explained the epidemiological conditions for the return of football and the Croatian First League.

T.portal reports that the football season in Croatia continues on Saturday, May 30, when Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo meet in the semifinals of the Croatian Cup. On May 31, Osijek and Rijeka meet in the other semifinal match.

The Hrvatski Telekom Croatian First League resumes on June 6, and Krunoslav Capak, the head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) and a member of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, commented on what we can expect for Croatian Football Television.

"We let the training begin, and if the situation is as it is now, then competitions can start. We will agree with everyone. A PCR test is valid for up to two days, after which a person can become contagious, so we do not like excessive use of tests. One test costs a thousand and a half kuna and the benefits and costs need to be weighed. If someone can afford it, that's fine, but by keeping the measures and without testing, a high level of safety can be achieved," Capak explained some of the epidemiological measures that Croatian first division players have to implement if they want to play at all.

The problem arises if just one player is infected with the coronavirus. What will happen in that case?

"If one of the players is positive, everyone who has been in contact with him in the last 48 hours must be in self-isolation," Capak says clearly and continues:

"The alternative is additional testing, but the test is valid for 24, at most 28 hours, so you would have to test constantly until 14 days. They and their family will have to isolate themselves at home. At the same time, it probably means the end of the competition for that club,"  revealed Capak.

Reading between the lines, if this worst-case scenario happens, the regularity of the entire competition comes into question, so it is almost certain that the most radical measures would be taken, and that is the termination of the Croatian First League competition.

A few days ago, the coach of Varaždin, Samir Toplak, wondered how it is possible that there can be as many as 200 people in churches, and spectators are not allowed in the stands. Football is still played outdoors, and there is more than enough space in the stands for those who would be encouraged to come. Social distance in the stands should not be a problem.

But according to Capak, these two types of gatherings are incomparable. True, the head of the HZZJ left the possibility that perhaps by further easing the measures in the near future, spectators - in limited numbers - could go to the stands of football stadiums.

"Mass is a static event where there is no contact except at communion for which there are precise epidemiological measures. Churches are both tall and airy buildings, and there is more interaction in cinemas and theaters, as well as at matches. There are epidemiological measures that could be prescribed to spectators in the stands, but it is still high risk. We are going in stages, although everyone would like everything right away," concluded Krunoslav Capak.

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