COVID19 Mass gathering risk assessment for sporting events
Information note for Communicable Diseases Outbreak Management Tool for Endurance Sports Mass Participation Event’s Organisers
Dear Competition Organiser,
This tool is intended to support you in the organisation of your event during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The same tool, processes and recommendations can be used in all cases of communicable disease outbreaks. The use of this tool will not guarantee that your event can take place but, based on information available through your local Public Health Authorities, should help you to:
- assess the risk of the event in quantitative and qualitative ways,
- establish the community and the event’s preparedness for the risks of COVID-19,
- clarify the steps to take to further mitigate and reduce the risk.
The tool’s output is a document that has the objective to practically assist you in making the right decisions to protect the local community, the event’s participants, the volunteers, workforce and staff involved. This tool does not include spectator management.
Some key considerations are necessary before using this tool:
- The risk assessment and mitigation checklist have been specifically developed to reflect the needs of endurance sports mass participation events and are based on the World Health Organisation – WHO documents that were published in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. More information on the original documents can be found here
- These documents do not impose legal requirements and all local health and safety legislation and regulations should be complied with; local government and public health authorities’ guidance should be followed and take precedence over these recommendations. These documents should be considered as recommendations resulting from a consensus agreement among international sports federations, public health experts, international sports medicine experts, representatives of private events’ organisers and the main stakeholders of the mass participation endurance sport events industry.
- Local and/or national laws and regulation will always take precedence over these guidelines and guidance documents.
- Our objective is to minimise the risk as much as possible, bearing in mind that some risk will always remain.
- We strongly recommend coordinating with your local public health authorities when planning the event and discuss with them the results obtained from this tool. Close cooperation will ensure that a precise risk assessment is performed and that you will be properly prepared to mitigate the risks and protect the local community as well as the event’s participants and all others involved in the running of the event.
- We recommend that you use this tool at the beginning of the organisation/planning phase of your event and repeat it every time there is a significant change which could have an impact on your event organisation (change in pandemic stage, new findings on the virus, new public health recommendations or a forced change in your race set-up).
- It is important to acknowledge that by running this tool there is no guarantee that the suggested mitigation actions will be enough to sufficiently reduce the risk and allow you to safely stage the event. This decision will have to be made together with the local public health authorities considering all data and information available.
- These document adopt the World Health Organisation – WHO’s definition of Mass Gathering Events, which states “…characterized by the concentration of people at a specific location for a specific purpose over a set period of time and which has the potential to strain the planning and response resources of the country or community.”
- Although in the context of mass participation sports events the size of the gathering clearly has an impact on the associated risks, the definition is not linked to any specific number of people (athletes, volunteers, workforce), because each community has a different capacity to manage crowds of people and respond to emergencies. Therefore, the current tool can apply to events of all sizes through a scalable approach.
- As the intention of this tool is for it to be applicable to all mass participation endurance sport events (regardless of the sport, competition level and event size), some items might not be applicable to your specific context. Nevertheless, this tool’s objective is to provide useful information on how the risk of infectious diseases transmission can be mitigated.
- This tool and the documents that it relies on, should be considered living documents that will be updated as soon as more evidence and scientific-based knowledge on the current infectious outbreak are available. Therefore, we encourage you to regularly check this website to use the latest version of the tool.