Hockey Ireland COVID-19 UPDATE No. 8 regarding Return to Hockey
As announced on June 19th, the amended Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business in the Republic of Ireland presents a significant acceleration for the return to sport. From Monday 22nd of June clubs were able to start reduced activities and skill training in instances where the club can comply with the Hockey Ireland issued protocols and Government regulations as part of Step 2 of the return to hockey.
Sport Ireland has emphasized that the return of sport should be gradual but inclusive at the same time. The return to competition should be slow, giving substantial consideration for the period of training completed prior to any scheduled matches/competitions. While some individuals, especially high performance and professional athletes, may have maintained a level of fitness throughout this crisis period, risk of injury to players will be higher due to the lockdown period of restrictions to play.
Those leading the delivery of their sport will need to account for this risk and tailor training accordingly. Minimising the spread of Covid-19 and the occurrence of injury will be critical. From June 29th:
Contact training and games are allowed from Monday, June 29th. Contact and close proximity activity may be permitted but social distancing outside the field of play is still essential.
Restriction on group sizes has been relaxed from June 29th – subject to the Republic of Ireland government specified maximum of 200 people in the club ground.
All control measures for players, coaches, and other team personnel, i.e. the completion of health questionnaire, applying cleaning protocols, are to remain in place until advised otherwise; dressing rooms are to remain closed until further notice.
Summer Camps: There are three key points for clarification in relation to the operation of summer camps from June 29:
The restriction on numbers (‘groups of 15’) is lifted. However, we advise caution as additional personnel will be required to monitor risk arising from Covid-19.
Additional consideration should be given to the safeguarding recommendation (under 12s ratio 1:8, 12s and over ratio 1:10).
The availability of space will be a factor in the numbers of participants
We await guidance from the NI Executive in relation to NI – non-contact training. The numbers outlined in the Hockey Ireland Return to Play Protocol will apply in the interim.
The Return to Hockey Protocol has been updated to reflect these changes. National competition will hopefully return in September; however, Hockey Ireland will consider the opportunity for proper season preparation time for all clubs on the Island of Ireland.