Various association provide details of their return to activities next week (Updated)
Following this Friday afternoon’s announcement that sports can start making a phased return to training as from Monday several sports have confirmed that they will be returning as from this Monday, these include rugby, tennis and basketball.
The announcement was met by an immediate release to its members by the Gibraltar Sandpits Tennis and Padel club that sessions would resume as from Monday.
In a message to its members officials announced that, “as from this coming Monday, Sandpits will be open for Tennis and Padel Tennis. The rules that were in place before lockdown in December will remain. In other words, bookings can be made using the booking app with all names of players participating to be in the booking. Failure to put names down may be subject to the deleting of the booking. As the CMs address, we have flattened the curve tremendously and we want to keep it down. Please let’s all be sensible and abide by these simple rules until we are completely out of the woods.”
Gibraltar Rugby, who saw all their activities come to a stop on the same weekend in which they saw their first contact match played following a long phased process after the first lockdown, also announced their return to play.
In an announcement to its members the association detailed the phased approach they expected to be taking. This they said would be
“Monday 22nd February 2021 will see the start of our COVID-19 compliant #Return2Rugby programme - with restrictions on group sizes above 12 persons still in effect. Public Health Gibraltar guidelines will still, also, be in effect.
“Monday 8th March 2021 will see the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority accepting applications for activities involving larger group sizes, with further announcements made, regarding this, in due course.
“Monday 22nd March 2021 will see a rerun to competition events, granted that the pertinent permits have been obtained supporting this and the events are in-keeping with #PublicHealth advice.”
The association who in the past weeks also announced they would be providing its members with a specific mental health programme to aid any of their members advised that they would be providing further information to Players and individual club management, with further announcements made in due course.
The announcements initially led to speculation over the return of different sports as details started to emerge. This prompted the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority to issue a clarification in which they highlighted that public bookings would be phased in at a later stage.
“On the back of today's announcement by the Chief Minister regarding the resumption of sports locally, we would like to clarify that at present this is only limited to structured/ organised formats of sports organised by our registered Governing Bodies of sport. Public bookings for recreational sporting pursuits at GSLA facilities will be phased in at a slightly later date. We will endeavour to keep you abreast of developments as soon as we have them.”
Other associations such as the Gibraltar netball association indicated that they were working on their own plans to return next week, although they had yet to officially receive confirmation at the time of being contacted. Similarly Gibraltar basketball’s men’s technical director confirmed that the association was working towards publishing a training schedule to resume senior team training as from next week. He highlighted that this would afford at least two weeks training before competitive games were expected to be allowed.
Football remained the only sport who have up to now been confirmed to have been allowed to resume their domestic league activities. This is understood to have been done under strict public health guidelines followed prior to the last lockdown and based on the requirements of the sport to participate in a triple international header at the end of March and the need to complete its league.
Football was among one of the sports where the strictest protocols were imposed after the first lockdown including random testing of players, sanctions on players who breached any of the social distancing or health and safety guidelines. These including restrictions on player activities twenty-four hours prior to matches, plus host of restrictions on player or official entry into play areas. The return of the sport has also been restricted to its senior league with the youth leagues expected to return at a similar pace as other sports.
Update - in the original copy we mentioned that youth categories were not included in the return to training. This has been clarified has been changed with basketball confirming youth basketball can resume training as from Monday.
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