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Masks required for players on sidelines as league enhances COVID-19 protocols

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City

(Reuters) - Players in the National Football League (NFL) must wear masks on the sidelines unless they have their helmet on and are preparing to enter the game, the league said on Monday as it unveiled an enhanced set of COVID-19 protocols.

In a memo distributed to teams, the NFL also outlined increased safety regulations for play-callers and said post-game interactions between players and staff would be limited.

Players that failed to comply would be subject to discipline, the league said.

"Clubs are required to enforce these rules. Violations by players and/or staff will result in accountability measures being imposed upon the club," the NFL said.

The league added that the maximum number of players permitted to travel to road games would be reduced to 62 and access to club facilities would be limited for non-essential personnel.

From Week 13, all members of a team's traveling party must wear N95 or KN95 masks on team planes and buses, it said.

The new guidance was issued on the same day multiple players, including Baltimore Ravens running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)