GAA to restart with 11-week club window as roadmap revealed for return to action

The GAA have proposed club competitions be permitted to return from July 31 for an 11-week window as part of their safe return to action roadmap - but that could yet be brought forward.
GAA to restart with 11-week club window as roadmap revealed for return to action
The All-Ireland Championships will commence on October 17 at the earliest. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
The All-Ireland Championships will commence on October 17 at the earliest. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The GAA have proposed club competitions be permitted to return from July 31 for an 11-week window as part of their safe return to action roadmap - but that could yet be brought forward.

Collective training for inter-county teams gets the official green light from September 14 with the Championship commencing on October 17 at the earliest. A fixtures programme is expected to be published when it is confirmed the country is moving onto phase three of its recovery plan on June 28.

Speaking this evening, GAA director of player, club, and games administration Feargal McGill said he felt it was realistic that county panels would adhere to that September date. He added that he didn’t expect county managers to be happy with it but compromises had to be made and he felt a month’s preparation was sufficient.

The GAA insist counties are not being instructed to organise knock-out championships. No decision has been made about completing the outstanding games in the Allianz Leagues.

Club players will be asked to complete a one-off online coronavirus education module as well as fill in a questionnaire and have their temperature taken each time they go to training or play. Should their temperature read above 37.5 degrees, they must return home.

Those are the stipulations revealed in the document published by the GAA this evening. Although the Government have given the go-ahead for sports teams to train in groups of 15 from Monday, the GAA will only permit teams in groups of no more than 10 to return to club pitches from the end of this month.

However, in light of the Government’s acceleration of their recovery plan earlier today, GAA president John Horan indicated the organisation may now have to be “more flexible” with their approach.

From Monday, GAA clubs with walkways can reopen those facilities pending application to Croke Park. From June 28, it is hoped teams will be allowed back in small numbers for non-contact training.

At both under-age and adult level (the GAA splits the groups into three cohorts of U14 and below, 15 to 18, and adult), there can be no more than 10 players and two coaches in a designated part of the pitch while all must keep the current two-metre social restriction. No changing areas can be used and no team meetings can take place indoors until August 10. Water bottles cannot be shared at any time and gestures such as handshakes are not permitted.

Based on the Government roadmap, the GAA’s return to club action is broken into five phases with the second one commencing Monday, phase three on June 28, phase four on July 20, and phase five on August 10. Details concerning the limits on spectators for club games from July 31 will be revealed prior to the start of phase four (July 20).

Regarding Cúl Camps, the Covid-19 advisory committee propose children’s involvement be limited to one camp and groups be made smaller with the same trainer/supervisor and equipment assigned to each group.

Every club will be required to have a number of Covid supervisors with club secretaries, chairpersons, and mentors also having to complete the online module. For players, the completed questionnaire forms must be presented to the team’s Covid supervisor upon entering the GAA grounds and they are expected to arrive togged out.

Club facilities will also have to regularly cleansed before and after training with hand sanitisers and signage put in place around club grounds. The circulation of the return to play document as well as timetables will also have to put in place before teams can be permitted to return to training.

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