In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hockey Ireland in conjunction with Sport Ireland (and Sport NI) have developed a "Return to Play Protocol" which may be found below.
From Hockey Ireland (31st March 2021):
- From April 26th, socially distant non-contact training in pods of 15 (inclusive of the coach) is permitted at all players/teams under 18 in both clubs and schools. The return of senior hockey training remains under review pending future Government announcements. The exemptions to this are Elite sports*.
- Elite sports are permitted to continue behind closed doors. For Hockey this has been defined as the National Senior Men’s and Women’s Programmes. They are permitted to train and play behind closed doors.
*Please note: This category has been defined by the ‘Return to Sport Expert Group’ which has been established by the ROI government to provide guidance to Ireland’s sporting bodies to prepare for the phased return to sporting activity.
Sport Ireland have also developed an online course which may be found below.
From the 22nd June contact training and games have been allowed to take place. Social distancing outside the field of play is still essential.
The following Health and Safety Responsibilities are outlined in this version of the Return to Play Guidelines:
- Members with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay away from the hockey facility.
- A basic health check should be carried out by everyone prior to attending each training session. The document includes a declaration whereby the participant will inform the club CVO should they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 going forward and will not take part in club activity until they receive medical clearance.
- Members travelling to and from the facility should travel alone or with members of their own household only. Sharing transport is not advised.
- If the club becomes aware of a person becoming ill after a visit to the club, the club should inform the person to contact their GP. If contact tracing is required, the HSE will contact the club.
- As above, clubs must ensure that players’ names, times and date of visit are recorded electronically and kept for a period of 6 weeks to assist with contact tracing should the need arise.
- Clubs should ensure all member contact details are accurate and up to date to assist with contract tracing if necessary.
- Only club members should have access to the pitch. Supporters are not permitted.
- All members entering or leaving the pitch should be instructed to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.
- All members should be advised of the correct cough/sneeze etiquette (into the elbow). Players should not spit or clear their nose openly at any time.
- Club members should avoid mingling outside the pitch gate waiting for other groups to leave the facility. Players should remain in the car park observing physical distancing guidelines until the pitch is free.
- Players should not touch any coaching equipment (hockey balls, cones, throw down lines etc.) under any circumstances. Only the coach should have access to this equipment. The coach should disinfect their hands after handling equipment.
- Players should only touch their own equipment and should minimise the amount of equipment they bring to the field. Essential personal equipment (e.g. water bottle, hand sanitizer) should be kept separate from other players in a designated area away from dug outs. Players should not remove playing equipment (such as shin guards) and throw it on the side of the pitch.
- Bibs should not be used; players should bring designated shirt colours in advance if required.
- All coaching equipment should be disinfected before and after use.
- Goalkeepers should only train if they have their own designated (not shared) goalkeeping equipment and equipment should be disinfected after each session.
- Field equipment (such as goals, nets, corner flags) should not be touched during the session. If this is unavoid able, clubs must disinfect any equipment where there has been contact).
- If the session is being coached, the coach should plan the session to comply with physical distancing guidelines and minimise all associated risks. This should include minimising the amount of equipment used and avoiding exercises that involve close contact such as marking or tackling where possible.
- Equipment should be managed as per guidelines below.
- Training of penalty corners is permitted, however penalty corner equipment (e.g. masks) should not be shared.
- Good hand hygiene should be practised before and after each session by all using the field of play.