Phase 4 of the Safe return to Gaelic Games roadmap will see club competitions commence on the 31st of July

The GAA, An Cumann Camogaíochta and the LGFA have today unveiled its Safe Return to Gaelic Games document, which reveals the phased approach of a safe return for the three organisations.

The document reveals the phased approach to holding club and inter-county championships in 2020 but is dependent on the Government confirming it is safe to do so.

Despite the Government speeding up its own phased roadmap on opening up the country which includes from Monday that organised outdoor exercise can recommence, the GAA is maintaining its 29th of June date for a return to action.

The Safe Return to Gaelic Games document is the work of a specially appointed Advisory Committee, which included representatives of all three associations, the GPA and a number of medical experts.

The 15 page document outlining the road to a return to action was launched at a virtual press conference.

The key dates from the document are:

  • Monday 8th of June – Walkways at GAA pitches will open.
  • 29th of June – Club gates will open.
  • 31st of July – Adult and juvenile club championships can begin.
  • 14th of September- Return of inter-county training.
  • 17th of October – The inter-county calendar will begin.

A full fixture list will be published in August.

Safe return to Gaelic Games phases one to four

Phase 2 will begin on the 8th of June when GAA walking tracks can be use of up to group of four for recreational purposes.

Although walking tracks are open no small group training or games will be permitted on GAA facilities at this stage and all clubroom facilities will remain closed.

Phase 3 begins on the 29th of June when all GAA pitches will open although at this stage there will be no access to GAA buildings or indoor facilities except to use sanitised toilets.

The under-14 grade and below can return to training in small groups with no more than 10 players and two coaches in one area of the pitch for non-contact training under social distancing guidelines.

The 15-18 age group can also begin training with the same 10 player/2 coach ratio in a group. Parental or guardian sign-off will be needed for underage training.

It will also see the return of adult training on the same date again with same ratios per group whilst also adhering to social distancing.

The 20th of July will see the commencement of phase 4 when all forms team and group training will be permitted and resumption of club competitions will start on the 31st of July.

Water bottles cannot be shared, all other equipment can be shared but must be washed and sanitised at the end of every game and training session. Contract tracing will be in place for all players and backroom members.

A Covid Supervisor will be appointed by clubs and duties will include taking temperature levels of team participants upon entry to the grounds. If the level is over 37.5 the player must return home. At this stage all participants will have to complete a health questionnaire and submit to the club’s Covid Supervisor.

All players and coaches will have to sanitise their hands upon entry and exit from grounds and clubs will be asked to display Covid-19 signage on their premises.

There will be a limit on spectator numbers in line with Government directives and spectators will be separated from players in line with social distancing requirements.

Phase 5 will commence on the 10th of August when access to GAA buildings and indoor facilities including meeting rooms, gyms and exercise studios will be permitted again where regular and effective cleaning can be carried out and where indoor social distancing can be maintained.

Contract tracing measures are to remain in place and adequate sanitisers are to be available all through the facilities. Signage must be displayed, and crowds will be managed in line with agreed protocols and Government guidance.

The return to inter-county training will begin on the 14th of September and that will be subject to no change in medical advice or research.

Finally inter-county championship games will begin on the 17th of October and the fully revised and agreed inter-county calendar will be published once phase 3 of the Safe return to Gaelic Games has begun.

An official statement from Shay Brennan, the Chair of the Advisory Group, read:

“The Covid-19 Advisory Group was tasked with preparing a guidance document and recommendations that would inform the safe resumption of activities within the Gaelic games family.

“While this document provides a guide for a safe return for Gaelic Games activity, it is important to note that further, more detailed, advice and guidance will need to be provided in the coming weeks on specific areas contained within this document such as online training modules, the role of the Covid Supervisor, advice on recording player temperatures, advice on, and samples of signage and so on.

“It is also envisaged that separate and updated advice on the Safe Return for inter-county players will be published during Phase 4 and closer to the resumption time for inter-county activity.

“The Covid-19 Advisory group makes its recommendations on the resumption of activities having studied the best advice available from the Governments and National Health agencies on the island of Ireland, as well as other sporting bodies (separate advice, based on local considerations and consistent with jurisdictional obligations will need to be provided for clubs outside of Ireland).

“The evidence and research to date indicates that the resumption of activities is a complex process, that it may not be linear and that small and deliberate steps must be taken before there can be a return to full activity.

“The roadmap contained in this document outlines and defines a set of recommended minimum practices for the reintroduction of activities in a methodical manner which preserves player and community safety.

“The objective is to advise members and clubs on how a resumption of activities can best be achieved in a controlled and safe manner. The resumption of activity and the timing of progression between the various phases outlined may be influenced by factors outside the control of the Association.

“The guidelines, protocols and recommendations within the document are capable of evolving and staying abreast of changes in Government policy and developments within the Association.

“The priority at all times must be to protect the health and welfare of all those involved in Gaelic Games and to minimise the risk of transmission within the wider community.”

The full 15 page document can be read by clicking HERE