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NFL to ban jersey swaps over virus fears

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Post-game jersey swaps will be prohibited under a range of coronavirus safety protocols set to be introduced by the NFL for the upcoming season, reports said Thursday.

USA Today reported that under the new measures put in place for the 2020 campaign, players from opposing teams would not be allowed to be within six feet of each other after the game.

The rule effectively prohibits post-game gestures such as jersey exchanges and handshakes, a measure that was greeted with scorn by some NFL players on Thursday.

"This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell," San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman wrote on Twitter.

"Players can go engage in a full contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game."

Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson was similarly perplexed, writing simply: "That's DAMN silly bro."

Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb added simply: "This has to be a joke."

A draft of the game-day protocols and an infectious disease emergency response plan for training camps were sent to NFL clubs on Wednesday, USA Today reported. The protocols were drawn up by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

Other measures to be put in place include strict body temperature monitoring, with no one who registers a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher allowed into stadiums on game days.

Players and coaches would would be "encouraged" to wear face coverings on the sideline but masks would not be mandatory.

However, game crew and medical staff would be required to don protective masks.

In a further move, home teams would be obliged to stay at hotels on the night before games and head directly to their stadium.

Team arrivals on game day would be staggered while locker and training rooms will also be regularly disinfected.

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