The WBSC has published its return to sport guidelines ©WBSC

Players have been asked to avoid using the same equipment and bases will be cleaned every half inning under the World Baseball Softball Confederation's (WBSC) guidelines for a safe return of the two sports during the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Safe Return to Baseball/Softball - COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines", published by the WBSC this week, include rules and recommendations for players and umpires.

As well as each player having their own bat, helmet, glove and batting gloves, they will be told to avoid physical contact, including shaking hands, high fives, fist bumps and hugging.

Umpires will be expected to wear gloves and masks during games, while coaches will have to adhere to social distancing measures when approaching officials.

The guidelines have been developed by the WBSC Medical Commission in accordance with the World Health Organization's risk assessment tool.

Professional baseball leagues have begun to resume in some countries ©Getty Images
Professional baseball leagues have begun to resume in some countries ©Getty Images

Some professional leagues have already returned, including in South Korea and Taiwan, but dozens of WBSC events have either been postponed or cancelled in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

"Large sporting events such as WBSC World Cups as well as Continental and National Championships in baseball and softball have traditionally attracted many fans to the stadium, and therefore we have a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of everybody involved the best we can and not promote the spread of COVID-19," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. 

"These new guidelines and considerations that the WBSC has published serve to reduce exposure to COVID-19, as the return of activity in our sport is planned or set to slowly begin around the world."

The full WBSC guidelines can be read here.