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