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Return to Sport & Physical Activity

Published: July 1, 2020

On this page you will find relevant information on the return to sport in line with the Government’s Road map for Reopening Society and Business. This page will be updated regularly to bring you the most up to date and relevant information.

Return to Sport E-Learning Course
Sport Ireland wish to notify NGBs, LSPs and other funded bodies that the updated Sport Ireland COVID-19 eLearning Course is now available on its website. The course aims to support administrators, volunteers, coaches and participants to return to sport during phase 3 in a safe & practical manner. Funded Bodies are encouraged to share the Course with its affiliates, clubs and members through its direct & social media channels.
The course is split into two sections . . .
Section A of the Course builds on the previous Awareness course and has been updated with the current government advice and guidelines in relation to COVID-19. It also includes modules on the recommendations and guidance from the Expert Group in relation to phase 3. The course is targeted at supporting administrators, volunteers, coaches and participants.
Section B of the Course aims to support those who have been nominated to fulfil the COVID Officer Role in their NGB, LSP, Club or Community Group. This section will include specific modules in relation to that role – Responsibilities, Management Plans, Venue Layouts, Dealing with a Breakout, Emergency First aid etc.
Participants can choose to complete Section A only or both sections A & B.
Nominated COVID Officers are recommended to complete both sections.
Both sections will include a test/quiz and a Certificate of Completion.

Complete the Return to Sport Online Course

Return to Sport in Phase 3
Sport Ireland has issued guidance on the return to sport in Phase 3 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, which applies to all sports from Monday, June 29th. The guidance, agreed by the Expert Group on Return to Sport, encourages a gradual and inclusive approach to the resumption of sporting activity.

Return to Sport
Announced on June 19, the amended Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business in phase 3 presents a significant acceleration of sport in its return. Previous restrictions on travel will no longer be in place from June 29th.

While phase 3 allows for the return of all sport, National Governing Bodies of Sport are encouraged to continue to adopt a gradual and inclusive approach, catering for all level and abilities in equal measure.

Competition and Training
The return to training and competition should be on an opt-in basis, with participants taking personal responsibility to decide whether they are happy to return.

It is important that athletes are not be penalised if they wish to opt-out of training at this stage in the Roadmap. They should be encouraged to communicate their concerns to their club and/or National Governing Body so that they can be addressed.

The return to competition should be slow with consideration for the period of training completed prior to any scheduled matches/competitions. Individuals, especially high performance and professional athletes, may have maintained a level of fitness throughout the restriction, however the risk of injury will be increased. 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.

Contact permitted, but should be limited to training and competition only. Strict physical distancing protocols should be in place outside the field and adhered to at all times.

Covid-19 measures should be incorporated into all competition/procedure documents to form a normal part of the sport’s delivery. This should include the appointment of a Covid-19 Safety Officer, to ensure public health guidelines are adhered to, and appropriate mechanisms to assist with contact tracing.

Additional Considerations for Participation in Sport by People with Disabilities or Older People
Whilst mitigating the risk of Covid-19 is more challenging for those who require assistance in their sport participation, steps should be taken including:

  • Consider DATE (distance, activity, time, environment)
  • Ensure daily symptom checks
  • Limit the number of participants
  • Limit the duration of the activity
  • Consider the contact (proximity, direct touch, equipment sharing) and minimise where possible.
  • Train outdoors
  • Consider the use of PPE for assisting the participant (for example, if they require assistance getting onto a bike). It is accepted that the use of PPE during sporting activities is not generally advised, however its use is promoted outside of field of play, where guidelines suggest.
  • Avoid slipstreams where possible

Summer Camps
The Expert Group on Return to Sport has issued three key points for clarification in relation to the operation of summer camps from June 29:

Numbers: The restriction on numbers (‘15’) is lifted. However, caution is advised, 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.
Outdoor/Indoor: Summer camps should be based outdoors with limited access to indoors in case of weather or the need for diverse activity. Indoor activity must be done under strict protocol and acknowledging the extra risk associated with indoor activity. The numbers accommodated for outdoor activity should give consideration for the necessity to move indoors at some point during the day (weather dependent).
Contact: Summer camps may allow a certain degree of contact in their activity in the sporting context. Organisers should observe good contact protocols off the field of play and be aware of the intensity, duration and nature of the activity that involves contact.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) has issued specific guidance on the return to sports activities for children and adolescents. That guidance can be downloaded here.

Health Considerations
Sport Ireland has issued guidance on Health Considerations for Returning to Sport. That guidance can be downloaded here.


Article Modified: July 29, 2020 8:54 am

Waterford Sports Partnership

Waterford Sports Partnership (WSP) was established in 2002 by Sport Ireland (formerly the Irish Sports Council) as part of the Local Sports Partnership initiative with the aim of increasing participation in sport and physical activity in County Waterford.


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