Updated: 14th October 2020
Government’s Guidance for Return to Recreational Team Sport Framework
This framework applies to COVID Alert Level 1 (Medium). If the level changes to Level 2 or 3, it will need to be reviewed. The full framework can be found here. Here are the highlights that apply to the reopening of badminton training.
Sport action plans and guidance
Each individual sport (in our case, BADMINTON England) will submit to the government (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) an action plan and any related guidance, demonstrating its mitigations, how it plans to operate, and any adaptations required. The sport specific action plan and risk mitigation proposal must recognise that practice may need to be adapted or curtailed and this information communicated to participants swiftly, if the overall threat level or community prevalence of COVID-19 dictates, or if it becomes apparent that a specific sport carries a high level of transmission risk. The detail of the key variables for the transmission risk being assessed can be found in the full framework.
From 24 September, national governing bodies should update their guidance to reflect the ‘rule of 6’ which will apply to organised indoor team sport for adults. Participation in these activities (e.g. games and matches) should be limited to groups of up to 6 (not including anyone present in a work capacity or providing voluntary services, such as officials and coaches).
Each club must only return to sport when they have the appropriate measures in place as developed by the NGB and general government guidance in relation to recreational sport.
All recreational clubs must develop a written COVID-19 plan and risk assessment prior to activity. Preparation must include those in charge of the session taking part in specific training, as necessary, and participants being asked to consider if their underlying health, may caution against participation. A checklist to support clubs to put the appropriate measures in place will be made available. All the above documents must be promulgated to all coaches, assistant coaches and welfare officers.
Risk assessments should be completed in line with guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
All organised activity for children will continue to be exempt from the rule of 6. This includes organised indoor team sports and all supervised sporting activity for under-18s. All clubs running activities for children should also consult the DfE guidance on protective measures for out-of-school settings, which sets out further practical steps providers of community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children should follow to minimise the risk of transmission for children attending their settings.
Pre-attendance official symptom check
All players, officials, volunteers and spectators must undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in sport if they, or someone they live with, has symptoms of COVID -19 currently recognised as any of the following:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste
Should an individual have demonstrated any such symptoms, they must follow NHS and PHE guidance on self-isolation.
Participants will be made aware of any increased risk associated with taking part in activity, based on the assessment undertaken by the governing body. They should also be strongly advised to comply with public health restrictions and avoid high risk behaviour outside the sports setting to reduce the risk to their fellow participants when they do attend.
Arrival at venues
Clubs should strictly limit the time spent congregating at a venue before activity begins. Meet-up times should reflect this. This includes arriving changed and ready to begin the warm up. Social interaction before and after playing any sport should be limited and only be in separate and distinct groups of up to 6. may be made where safety and safeguarding measures require this, for example supporting disability athletes with minimum time spent waiting or in changing rooms.
Social distancing in play
All sports must adhere to social distancing throughout warm-ups and avoid equipment sharing. The sport specific action plan must address the issue of how the sport can best mitigate the risk of social distancing in competitive matches and training. Organised indoor team sports must follow the rule of 6 at all times.
Social distancing during breaks and post-game
All participants must remain socially distanced during breaks with spaced areas for equipment and refreshment storage for each individual including officials and substitutes.
Water bottles or other refreshment containers, should in no circumstances be shared. Participants are advised to bring their own, in a labelled or highly distinguishable container.
Use of equipment
The sharing of equipment must be avoided where possible, particularly that used around the head and face e.g. helmets.
Sports should give consideration on how to protect participants in relation to all equipment use and the risk of transmission, including checking ongoing Government research and advice on transmission of the virus and ensuring their guidance reflects it.
Based on the fomite transmission risk assessment sports where a common ball needs to be handled by multiple players (e.g. basketball, cricket, football) will produce a plan to reduce this risk following advice from their governing body.
Match officials, medics and coaches
Match officials, medics and coaches should observe the governing body guidance in the same way as participants. Where the rule of 6 applies, match officials, medics and coaches are exempt and therefore not included in the number of participants. However they must remain socially distanced from players where possible during play. Should match officials not be able to remain socially distanced due to their role in the sport, their sport should conduct a risk assessment to see if other mitigations may be necessary.
Adherence to measures
A code of behaviour should be developed by each sport to ensure a commitment for all involved to adhere to COVID-19 adaptations. Match officials will be empowered to ensure measures are adhered to through appropriate sanctions designed by the NGB. Participants must be clear that they are opting in to participating as defined in the sport-specific guidance with regard to risk and risk mitigation.
There is an additional risk of infection in close proximity situations where people are shouting or conversing loudly. This particularly applies indoors and when face-to-face. If possible, players should therefore avoid shouting or raising their voices when facing each other during, before and after games.
Injuries during play should still be treated as participant wellbeing is of utmost importance. The best way for physios and other medical personnel to protect themselves and others is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene. An increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and equipment, using standard household cleaning and disinfection products, is recommended. Face coverings are also advisable when undertaking treatment.
After contact with an injured participant, physios and other medical personnel should clean your their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This advice is applicable to all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact or the minimum social distancing was maintained. They should also avoid touching their mouth, eyes and nose.
Physios or their equivalent, should keep a record of each participant they have come into contact with, for test and trace purposes.
See further information for those who may need to act as a ‘first responder’ role in a sports setting.
Supporters, parents, and other spectators to remain socially distanced whilst attending events. Spectator groups must be restricted to discrete 6 person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance. Discrete groups can be larger than 6 where people are from the same household or support bubble.
Where it is anticipated that an activity will attract spectators, there should be a named person or persons with responsibility for ensuring adherence with these guidelines and ensuring the facility is COVID-secure. The person should carry out and publish a risk assessment for the activity which limits the number of spectators and focuses on the need to maintain social distancing on arrival, for the duration of the activity, and on departure.
Arrangements should also be put in place to support test and trace efforts by collecting information from spectators which is detailed enough to allow NHS Test and Trace to contact them if necessary. See the maintaining records guidance for further information.