IRFU issue roadmap for rugby's return

The IRFU are rolling out a roadmap for a return to rugby in 217 clubs nationwide.
IRFU issue roadmap for rugby's return

The IRFU are rolling out a roadmap for a return to rugby in 217 clubs nationwide.

While stressing that clubs may only resume training and rugby activities in accordance with government protocols, the immediate objective is a focus on ‘COVID-19 safety planning.’

A spokesperson explained: "The objective of this summary roadmap is to provide high-level clarity to clubs and ensure safety measures are taken before activities can resume."

Clubs are being advised to appoint safety and compliance officers along with completing a risk assessment and a safety plan to outline safety measures and minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Templates for these documents will be issued to clubs as part of the IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines on Friday.

In terms of a return to training and playing the document states: "All on-pitch elements of a return to rugby for clubs will be guided by the Government of Ireland’s Return To Sport Expert Group as well as Sport Northern Ireland Framework for Return to Sport. Irish Rugby is working towards a graduated return to rugby for clubs.

"It proposes commencing with reduced activities and closed skills before progressing to non-contact versions of the game.

The IRFU summary roadmap offers an outline of this graduated return, but this does not mean it is directly aligned to the phases and steps of easing restrictions at government level. Contact rugby is categorised as a ‘close physical contact’ sport and is currently not permitted to resume until Step 5 (Northern Ireland Executive) and Phase 5 (Government of Ireland) of government protocols.

The IRFU will remain in constant contact with clubs, sharing all government updates as they are issued.

Relevant documentation on IrishRugby.ie will be continually updated."

IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee said: “Like everyone else, our community has been following the updates to government roadmaps and recovery plans and asking when clubs can reopen.

That’s from junior clubs right up to our men’s and women’s clubs in the Energia All-Ireland League.

"The fact remains we can only resume activity in line with the easing of government restrictions, but there is also a lot we can do to ensure the right practices are in place. Many clubs are already looking at revised operating procedures.

"This plan is about helping all clubs move forward as one in providing health and wellbeing opportunities for their community.

"I’m hopeful our clubs can rise to the challenge.

"The support will be there for them at both the national and provincial level. From there, we can look at a graduated return to rugby with a focus on reduced activities and non-contact forms of the game along the way."

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