The GAA yesterday produced their ” Covid -19 Advisory’s Group Safe Return to Gaelic Games” document which provides a quite specific timeline on the dates it envisages return to playing for both club and inter county competitions – the dates also apply to women’s football and camogie.
Initially pitches with walkways will be allowed to reopen from Monday next 8th June although pitches themselves will not reopen until 3 weeks later on 29th – at that juncture small group training of up to 10 players will be allowed. Full contact training will be allowed from 20th July outdoors with games slated to begin on Friday 31st July. The club window is set to last for 11 weeks ending on 11th Oct – intercounty training can commence on 14th Sept with competitions not returning until 17th Oct at the earliest.
The GAA ‘s upbeat announcement came on the back of the acceleration of some of the Government relaxation of restrictions which saw the phases reduced to 4 from 5 and relaxation of the 20km rule for travel with travel now permitted fully within one’s own county and 20km restriction only applying when travelling outside the county bounds to another county.
Asked about the prospect of championship fixtures with much reduced crowds or even behind closed doors, GAA president John Horan replied: “It would be our hope to have attendances at games. It may mean we use restricted venues for the intercounty championships. It’s something we’re conscious of and we see it as desirable to have crowds at a game. Obviously, I don’t think they’ll ever be at the number or level they were at, they will be restricted, but that restriction will take into account all the health measures and guidance we’re given.”
There will be many changes to the return to training with each club required to appoint a Covid -19 supervisor per team whose responsibility will range from recording attendances of players and management for contract tracing purposes as well as collecting mandatory questionnaires, with temperature checks required before players can participate in sessions along with sanitising of facilities and equipment.
To facilitate contact tracing if a participant contracts Covid-19, the expert group on return to sport has recommended “that organisers maintain an electronic record of all participants for all sessions, with contact details”.
It was emphasized also that all players would be free to ” opt in our opt out” depending on their circumstances.
There will a further announcement next week in relation to Cúl Camps which are expected to return in a modified format.
For more listen in to our own Mike Quirke and Anthony Daly discussing the roadmap as outlined yesterday.