GAA to advise on rescheduling of club games impacted by coronavirus

With just 12 weeks of a club window, it remains to be seen how much of that is feasible
GAA to advise on rescheduling of club games impacted by coronavirus

Postponements and rescheduling of games are expected to be advised by the GAA to county boards whose clubs have to stand down for Covid-19 related issues.

Advice on such protocols could be furnished to county boards on Wednesday, although with just 12 weeks of a club window until October 11 it remains to be seen how much of that is feasible if clubs have to suspend activity during a championship.

At the same time, less than a handful of county finals are scheduled to take place on the last day of the window, which may afford counties the opportunity to extend their competitions if necessary.

The GAA have already offered guidelines about restrictions for spectators at club games and revised match regulations, and ahead of the competitions returning on Friday they will outline what could be done should championships be impacted.

It is understood the decision on what becomes of games involving Covid-affected clubs will ultimately come down to the counties’ competitions control committees. However, the advice from central powers will be applicable to all.

The GAA continue to wait for Government guidance on what is the difference between a close and casual contact but believe Public Health considers GAA activity as casual. On Tuesday, updated guidelines for club deadline with suspected coronavirus cases were provided by GAA director of player, club, and games administration Feargal McGill.

“It is quite simple, if someone in a club gets the symptoms of Covid they should contact their GP,” he said. “If their GP thinks they need to then they will arrange testing. Public health then take over. If it is a negative test the player can return to activity, if it is a positive test and the player has Covid, public health will then take over.

"Public health will do an assessment on the player's movements in the previous days and will make a decision as to who should be considered a close contact or a casual contact in a GAA context."

McGill also confirmed GAA dressing rooms will remain closed for the foreseeable future as it is 19 times more likely to contract coronavirus indoors than outdoors. They had scheduled to open on July 20.

While handball alleys and club bars serving food will open from next Monday under defined guidelines, dressing rooms and club and county gyms will be deemed out of bounds until further notice.

“One of the key parts of our control measures around keeping clubs safe is trying to keep players outdoors as much as possible. The reason for that is you are 19 times more likely to contract the virus indoors than you are outdoors. Purely from a common sense basis, it doesn't make any sense for the GAA to open dressing rooms or gyms at this stage.

"The other reason it lessens massively the possibility of a player being considered a close contact. If they have only been undertaking activities that are outdoors, it lessens massively a player being considered a close contact if one of his team-mates or one of the backroom personnel happens to test positive."

Although several clubs have temporarily suspended activities because of members testing positive, McGill said the GAA have yet to be informed of somebody contracting the virus because of GAA activity.

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