Cricket Ireland has received provisional approval for club cricket to move towards a restart of activity in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Limited cricket training will be able to resume once two key requirements are fulfilled – (1) the Irish Government / Northern Ireland Executive formally notify that their respective jurisdiction is moving to Phase 2 / Step 2, and (2) cricket clubs undertake pre-opening protocol compliance measures and undertake training.
Following extensive research and consultation, Cricket Ireland made its submission to the two Governments on 22 May seeking approval to restart cricket activity. Following positive engagement with Sport Ireland and Sport NI, the Return-to-Training Protocols have now been approved for implementation in the Republic of Ireland, with Sport NI noting the protocols can be communicated to clubs in Northern Ireland ahead of implementation.
This means that Provincial Unions and clubs can actively progress their COVID-19 safety preparation work in anticipation of each Government’s progression to Phase 2 / Step 2 of respective roadmaps to reopening.
The first stage of this work will be for education and resources to be delivered to clubs – this will commence from next week and must be undertaken before actual club cricket training activity can commence.
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said:
“We are delighted that the hard work and collegiate approach taken to develop the protocols was met positively by sports and health authorities. My thanks to Cricket Ireland staff who led the development, research and consultation process, and to the Provincial Unions who have supported our detailed and deliberate approach.”
“Our priority from the outset was to take a safety-first approach – to ensure the health of players, coaches, volunteers and families. We have appreciated the enthusiasm of cricket players to get outdoors once more to start training and fitness work, particularly with the recent beautiful weather, but we have ensured that – as a sport – following public health directives has been our main responsibility.”
“With this in mind, it’s important that we remind our club and grassroots family that the 20km radius rule still applies to club cricketers, and that the ability to restart training depends upon being able to comply with the protocols. We fully understand that it won’t feel like normal, and there will be more work than usual to implement and properly monitor hygiene protocols and social distancing, but we are sure everyone recognises their role in controlling the spread of the virus and protecting the vulnerable in our community.”
“We will, through the Provincial Unions, help guide and educate clubs on what is required to comply with the safety protocols. We have approved the provision of signage and online education to commence immediately. We anticipate some clubs will take longer than others in being able to restart activity, so we’ll be putting further recommendations to the Cricket Ireland Board later this month to support clubs in implementing these protocols.”
“There will undoubtedly be some details still to resolve during implementation, but we will provide advice on issues as they arise. If we work together on meeting these protocols, then we can begin to look towards an eventual resumption of competitive matches later in the roadmap – a scenario that seemed very distant to many just a few weeks ago.”
“That all said, the spirit of the Government’s roadmap has been about looking forward cautiously but also positively, so that’s what we shall do. So, while it’s not quite ‘back to normal’, it is a positive step for all involved in our sport. We just hope the weather holds now that we’re back!”
The next step for club cricket in Ireland
The approval to restart cricket activity at club level is strictly dependent upon the Irish Government confirming a move to Phase 2 and the Northern Ireland Executive confirming a move to Step 2 of their roadmaps to reopening, respectively.
In coming days Cricket Ireland, in partnership with Provincial Unions, will make available information packs for all clubs across Ireland which will include:
- Detailed guides and checklists for preparing a cricket club for restarting activity (including cleaning guides)
- Risk assessment
- Booking forms & contact tracing process
- Support for safety signage
- Advice regarding training practices that comply with social distancing and health protocols
- Accredited online education for dedicated COVID-19 Club Safety Officers and Provincial Union staff (these training courses will commence from next week)
Support and guidance will be available as we transition through to the next phase of reopening our sport, with information available in coming days.