Hockey Ireland Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE No. 6
Hockey Ireland Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE No. 6 regarding Return to Hockey Protocol 5 June 2020
Following the announcements by Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland on the return to sport the following plan has been developed by Hockey Ireland to provide a step by step process for a return to Hockey.
Step 1 - Get Ready:
Members of the Senior Men and Senior Women who are under the ‘carding’ scheme for elite athletes. Training will resume when possible, under the particular protocols that apply to the various training facilities that are used.
Hockey Ireland and the Branches will finalise the protocols for hockey activity and obtain the necessary approval for a return to hockey activity for all. Communication to the Clubs with regards to these protocols will be issued when they are finalised.
Clubs are asked to begin preparations regarding the appointment of COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers.
Clubs should also begin to assess operational issues such as access to the pitch, pitch maintenance and special re-commission procedures. The FIH has issued guidance documents that will be helpful in developing our protocols. These will be especially helpful for clubs and schools is the guidance regarding the special maintenance and development of a re-commissioning plan. The document is called ‘start to plan for when hockey fields reopen’ and can be found here: http://www.fih.ch/media/13350090/start-to-plan-now-for-when-your-hockey-field-reopens.pdf
Step 2 – Limited Activity:
Return to the pitch training under specific arrangements will be outlined by the Hockey Ireland High Performance Department.
Clubs can start reduced activities and skill training in instances where the club can comply with the Hockey Ireland issued protocols and Government regulations.
Hockey Ireland does not envisage the start of Step 2 until the clubs in all four provinces can resume activities under Government Regulations.
In Step 2 the following will apply:
Clubs should ensure that the travel distance restrictions under Government Regulations are enforced.
Activities will only be allowed for small groups as outlined in the Hockey Ireland protocol which will be issued to Clubs.
Social distancing rules should be adhered to at all times.
Hockey activities will be limited to outdoor activity only.
Clubs should have a mechanism for contact tracing participants. i.e. a booking system, log etc.
Individuals who are unwell should not participate in their sport.
Clubs should appoint COVID-19 officers and are advised to apply checklists for their club activity to ensure consistent compliance with Hockey Ireland protocols.
Caution is advised for those who intend to engage in high intensity training following a recovery from COVID-19. Individuals should seek medical advice prior to a return to training.
Club House and toilet/changing room facilities should remain closed. If closure is not possible, participants should monitor facility usage ensuring a 1-in-1-out approach is adopted.
Competition is not allowed in Steps 1 and 2.
Additional consideration needs to be given to participants in vulnerable groups – elderly, underlying medical issues etc.
Step 3 – Competition
A return to competition will only take place when it is permitted by authorities, with specific protocols and guidelines to be applied, which will be issued when information becomes available.
Hockey Ireland requires that clubs only activate a return with an appropriate COVID-19 Club Safety plan in place.
Hockey Ireland’s guidance will at all times be superseded by:
Government of Ireland’s Roadmap to Re-open Society & Business
Northern Ireland Executive’s Coronavirus Recovery Plan
Government of Ireland’s Return to Sport Expert Group & Sport Northern Ireland Framework for Return to Sport.
Hockey Ireland will continue to monitor the dates and timelines for a return to play as appropriate, in line with the advice and guidance of the Government and Sporting Authorities. Our current restrictions and arrangements remain under constant review and may change as guidance changes
The Board of Hockey Ireland still firmly hopes to be able to return to Hockey competitions this year, subject of course to public health guidance.