Training return gets green light

Training return gets green light

31 March 2021

LOCAL sports clubs have began preparations following the Stormount Executive’s decision to resume outdoor training on April 12.

A review by the NI Executive is scheduled to be held next week, with the green light set to be given providing the data stays encouraging. 

The news has been received with open arms, with teams gearing up in hope of a full comeback to their respective sport.

Local soccer and GAA clubs have welcomed the decision after grassroots football and Gaelic games were suspended since December. 

The announcement includes rules and regulations sports clubs must follow within the recommencement, as highlighted in the Executive’s five step plan for the easing of restrictions.

Local soccer and GAA clubs are instructed to train in Groups of 15 people, including both coaches and players.

No spectators are allowed to view training sessions, with groups limited to essential participants only.

Over 18s have been authorised to train collectively as one group, while U-13s to U-18s are instructed to form two separate groups. Teams under the ages of 12 will have to train in three separate groups.

Many local clubs have  the changes, making every effort to ensure they can safely return to the sport they love.

Clubs have added new facilities to their grounds, including sanitising stations and have fully embraced social distancing guidelines.

GAA clubs are also to abide by the return-to-play forms, which all local clubs have acquired.

Rugby will also be included in the outdoor return to training as part of the planned proposal. Ballynahinch Rugby Club say they are keen to get back to action.

A spokesman for the club said: “We are delighted that limited training will resume from April 12 and look forward to getting back on the pitch.

“Hopefully the situation will continue to improve and allow us to bring some form of rugby back over the summer months and into next season.”

No dates have been confirmed for either friendly or competitive fixtures between teams as of yet.

Meanwhile, golf courses across the country are ready to reopen tomorrow.

Local golfers can play on courses with people from two households and courses can reopen for two and four-balls.

Clubhouses are to remain closed to the public but should have access to essential amenities such as toilet facilities.

There is also some good news for local driving ranges, as they are permitted to open providing they are outdoor.

Coaching is currently still not permitted, however, providing the Executive does not enforce a change of plan between tomorrow and the coming weeks, coaching may resume from April 12.

The reopening comes after Sport NI’s Sustainability Fund allocated local golf clubs money to help combat the financial strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.