The World Sambo Championships will take place without spectators ©FIAS

No spectators will be present when the World Sambo Championships take place later this week in Serbia because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The absence of fans is among the steps being taken by the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) to reduce the risk of the event facilitating the spread of the virus, with all participants to be part of a bio-secure bubble in Novi Sad.

All delegation members will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result that is less than 72 hours old to enter Serbia, and once in the bubble, mask-wearing, hand-washing and keeping socially distanced will be mandatory.

All volunteers who could come into contact with participants will also have to test negative, while officials and athletes will be transported on different busses, mats will be disinfected regularly and the sharing of equipment is banned.

"The Organising Committee of the World Championships has made every effort to minimise the risks of disease for athletes," FIAS President Vasily Shestakov said in comments reported by TASS, Russia's state-run news agency.

"For this, all competitors - from athletes and coaches to judges and medical personnel - will be required to strictly follow safety rules.

"The first step is to pass a polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19, 72 hours before arrival in the Republic of Serbia, the next one is the creation of a 'clean zone' for all participants of the competition, excluding the appearance of strangers.

"All movements in Serbia will take place exclusively between the hotel and the arena."

Stands will be required to be empty for the 2020 World Sambo Championships due to COVID-19 ©FIAS
Stands will be required to be empty for the 2020 World Sambo Championships due to COVID-19 ©FIAS

Shestakov also stated that allowing spectators at the venue would be impossible, given the current climate.

"It is obvious that under these conditions the tournament will be held without spectators," he added.

The World Sambo Championships will be streamed live on both YouTube and the FIAS website in the absence of spectators.

This year's World Championships are scheduled to run from November 5 to 8, after the event was moved there from Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat due to restrictions put in place to stop a COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

The youth and junior tournaments will also take place over the four days.

It is expected that more than 400 athletes from 30 countries will take part in the competition.