As guidance continues to change on the Guidance for full opening: schools we wanted to help school to know where they stand with the delivery of team sports. It is currently important to spend time outdoors whenever possible, so we have decided to focus on the outdoor sports of Football, Hockey and Netball as potential options for the Autumn Term.
We must use schools as a vehicle for change in children's health and well-being over the coming months. Lockdown will have affected children in different ways but we know that the majority of children will have played very little, if any at all, competitive sports over the last 6 months. Schools provide a regulated and safe space for the reintroduction of these sports; providing children with the opportunities to develop their mental and physical well-being.
Are Competitive Sports Safe?
The current guidance suggests that if you follow the advice published on each sports' National Governing Body (NGB) then your school can safely deliver these sports in the Autumn Term.
"Sports whose national governing bodies have developed guidance under the principles of the government’s guidance on team sport and been approved by the government are permitted. Schools must only provide team sports on the list available at return to recreational team sport framework." - Gov.uk
Which sports should we focus on?
Guidance is available for all of the below NGB's. For convenience, we will focus on Football, Netball and Hockey as these sports are typical outdoor sports played during Autumn.
British Baseball Federation
British Dragon Boat Racing Association
British Roller Sports
England and Wales Cricket Board
English Curling Association
Hurlingham Polo Association
Ice Hockey UK
Rugby Football League
Rugby Football Union
Royal Yachting Association
UK Floorball Federation
4ft spacing for the start of play – GS and GK are required to start inside their respective goal circles, GA, GD, WA and WD on the transverse line and the centres in the centre third. The modification requires all players to position themselves a minimum of 4ft away from their opposing players and teammates at the start of play. This will be managed by umpires at the start of play.
4ft marking – the defending distance has been increased from 3ft to 4ft. Particular attention must be paid in the circle when defending. This will be blown as distance.
Removal of toss ups – No toss ups are permitted.
Removal of idle interactions – Players not engaged in play or who are stood still are required to be positioned 4ft away from another player.
Competitive training can take place for all participants, in an outdoor setting provided this takes place in groups of no more than 30 (including coaches).
Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the session, and in any breaks in play.
The sharing of kit and equipment should be avoided.
When the ball goes out of play, it should not be retrieved by non-participants and should be retrieved using the feet rather than the hands where possible.
Participants must not spit and should avoid shouting or raising their voices when facing each other, as detailed in The FA Covid-19 Code of Behaviour.
Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training.
Observing rigorous hygiene standards, injuries can be treated.
Spectator groups should be limited to six people per group and spread out in line with wider Government guidance.
Small-sided football should include more regular hygiene breaks in activity and players discouraged from touching or tackling against boards.
Hockey - England Hockey
Please Note: Participation Agreement – Anyone wanting to be involved in hockey must sign an England Hockey Participation Agreement before they play (this only needs to be done once), where they agree to the terms and conditions and Code of Ethics and Behaviours. They can sign up here.
This Guidance is aimed towards external hockey clubs but is relevant towards hockey within a school setting. Your school will need to determine whether they feel comfortable to go ahead without being registered to a Hockey Club.
During play respect your opposition and umpires.
Take Penalty Corners and free hits around the D promptly.
Touch the ball with your stick/GK equipment and not your hands.
Use your own protective equipment or disinfect before use (e.g. facemasks).
Socially distance when play stops.
Avoid shouting excessively or spitting.
No handshakes with other players or close contact during goal celebrations.
Avoid running training exercises that involve overly repetitive close contact between players.
Do not share drinks/refreshments during breaks in play.
Avoid regular removal of your gum shield.
Find Out More About How uSports Can Help You To Reintroduce Sport In Your School
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Updated 4th Sep 2020
Disclaimer: To allow this document to be easily understood, certain parts of the guidance has been taken out which are not relevant to schools. We have put together this article to help schools understand what they can deliver. We encourage all schools to carry out their own research before delivering any competitive sport.