GAA issues guidelines for resumption of county training on Monday

Clarity is awaited on how many players can make up a matchday panel
GAA issues guidelines for resumption of county training on Monday

Picture: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

The GAA is awaiting clarity from Government on how many panel members and backroom personnel will be allowed to attend games when the Allianz Leagues throw in next month.

Ahead of collective inter-county activity resuming on Monday, the GAA has this afternoon issued updated training guidelines, which include permission to open county and club-owned gyms for inter-county players.

The correspondence, signed by GAA president Larry McCarthy and director general Tom Ryan, said no decision has been made regarding the number of players and backroom staff that will be allowed entry on matchdays.

“Guidance on numbers permitted to attend games being played behind closed doors (i.e. panel numbers and numbers of backroom personnel permitted) will be provided separately by the three Gaelic Games Associations ahead of a return to games and once clarity has been provided by Government in this context.” 

When inter-county games restarted last October, 26 panel members per county were permitted to attend games. This was extended to include all panel members for the All-Ireland finals following pleas from managers and players.

The overall limit for counties on matchdays last autumn and winter - including management staff and county board officials - was 40.

The return to training document outlines that county-owned gyms can now be opened for county panellists, while inter-county players can also use their relevant club gym for individual training.

“Ideally, gym activity indoors should be conducted on an individual basis or in very small groups."

Counties have been advised to leave 48 hours between collective sessions as this will “significantly” help to limit infection risk and minimise potential close contact designation.

Collective training sessions are again limited to no more than three per week, or two plus a game.

Croke Park has also encouraged squads to conduct as much of their preparations outdoors as possible: “A key message from our Covid Advisory Group is to avoid indoor gatherings wherever possible. For instance, it is permitted to use dressing rooms or hold meetings indoors, but we would strongly encourage you to explore alternatives or minimise usage as much as possible.

“Keeping the majority of your interactions outdoors is the key measure to follow if you wish to ensure the safety of players and support personnel.”

The GAA said they have requested the Government allow senior inter-county challenge games - no can take place until May 4 at the earliest. “We are seeking to have this position revisited as part of any further relaxation of Government restrictions and we will communicate further with counties as soon as we have any additional information in this context.”

Players are asked to travel to training individually, unless they are members of the same household. If travelling by bus, the capacity of the bus should be reduced to 25% until further notice. Moreover, face coverings should be worn for the duration of the journey.

"As a general rule, teams should avoid using indoor facilities where possible. Where this is not possible, the amount of time players, management and support teams spend together in a confined space (team meetings, travelling, in dressing rooms, in showers etc) should be controlled and minimised. Social distancing and hand hygiene should be practiced whenever possible, and masks as per national guidelines, should be used at all times in closed spaces," the document noted.

The same as last year, all players and backroom personnel must complete the self-administered standard risk assessment health questionnaire prior to each training session and game.

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