Return to Play from 29 March

David KitchinerNews

Many of you have heard by now that COVID-19 restrictions are being eased by the government and that outdoor team sports can recommence from Monday, 29th March. While that’s great news for hockey, all members should be aware that many of the details of what that means are not yet known, and any plans for the future may have to change depending on the government response to changes in the COVID-19 situation.

England Hockey have recently issued some guidance to clubs and, while you can find the full details here, the key points are:

  • Playing hockey is generally considered a safe activity but behaviours around the game need managing i.e. travel, social distancing, before/after sessions, breaks in play.
  • EH are expecting detailed government guidance sometime in the week commencing 22nd March, and will provide further EH guidance ASAP thereafter.
  • We may Return to Play from 29th March…
    • Only fun, friendly and local activity,
    • Follow Step 4 of EH Roadmap i.e. the guidance that we followed for the first half of the season but without competitive hockey matches,
    • Follow government travel guidance, and
    • No spectators, except for one parent per child for safeguarding purposes.
  • Permitted activities may broaden from 12th April but details are not yet known.
  • There is nothing confirmed yet for completion of EH competitions, including EHL.

As far as the other leagues are concerned, East League hockey below the women’s Premier and men’s Premier A divisions will not resume. The possibility of playing some matches in those two divisions is still being explored. Read the East League’s full statement here.

The Essex League will not be resuming and the London League is awaiting further advice from EH before deciding what they will do. The London League’s latest statement is here.

While we anticipate that the majority of our members will be keen to get back on the pitch, EH have made it very clear that some individuals may have reservations and, as such, have stressed that nobody should be put under any pressure to participate. Please bear this in mind when organising activities.

Plans are being made for some of our groups to recommence hockey activity and to run through the summer months. Further details will be published shortly.

Finally, if you have any concerns or are feeling anxious about hockey activity under COVID-19 restrictions, please discuss your concerns with a friend, teammate, captain, coach, our COVID-19 Officer, Wendy Tombs, or James Stock.