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BAFA update on season suspension and return to play – 5 August 2020

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Message from Chief Executive Pete Ackerley

I want to provide you all with some further detail on our Return to Play guidance following my update last week (29 July).

Return to Play guidance
The complex nature of our sport, and the fact we are drafting different guidance across England, Scotland and Wales, means that preparing our submission has to be a comprehensive process. We are working closely with colleagues across similar sports, particularly rugby, to share ideas – and I want to emphasise that the safety and wellbeing of BAFA members, and our sport, continues to be our number one priority. 

We appreciate that the three nations of the UK that have teams under BAFA’s auspices have different timelines for easing restrictions using their devolved powers. We’re factoring these differences into the guidance we’re creating for approval by each of the Home Country Sports Councils.

For example we’re aware that in Scotland, children’s organised outdoor contact sports for under 18s may be resumed subject to the approval of our guidance, and we are also aware that the Scottish Government has provided an indicative date of 24 August 2020 for this to be extended to include outdoor contact sport for adults. These timelines will be reflected in the guidance we’re drafting for submission to SportScotland.

Overall, our guidance looks at options for temporary dispensation to allow some practice for up to 30 people as a maximum and to allow some play of flag football, again for up to 30 people as a maximum. We have to be pragmatic given the current developments we are seeing across sport and beyond, with various restrictions being reviewed and reintroduced. Therefore, as much as it pains me to say this, it is unlikely we are going to see the return of competitive games in the immediate future.

Of course, if the situation changes and there is a significant shift in general public health guidance, we will accelerate alternative plans.

Respecting the current season suspension
Government approval will need to be given before any new guidance comes into play, and so I want to remind you all that the current season suspension continues. I urge you to respect the guidance in your respective countries around outdoor training. We all need to take responsibility for protecting our game, and the people involved within it.

I know this update does not contain any significant changes from my message last week, but I believe it’s important that I share as much information with you as I can – and continue to stress that your safety is at the heart of everything we are doing.

Please keep looking after each other, and our great game, and as soon as there is further news to share, I will let you know.

Pete Ackerley, BAFA Chief Executive

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