RFA guidelines for resumption of play approved



London, 18th August 2020 (Revised 2nd September)

The RFA is pleased to confirm that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has approved the Association’s guidelines for the resumption of playing fives. The following is an extract from the government’s e-mail:-

We do not consider Rugby Fives to be a team sport for the purposes of our guidance (which is the same for sports like squash).

There is no formal requirement for you to submit your return to play guidance for approval but we are happy to review and offer comments.

I [The DCMS] have no substantive comments as your guidance includes the elements that we would expect to see to enable a safe return to activity, in line with government guidelines. It’s good to see the inclusion of specific adaptations and mitigations.

It is ultimately for governing bodies and clubs to satisfy themselves that they are compliant with current government guidelines and can safely resume activity.

The guidelines were prepared by a sub-committee led by Stuart Kirby, but it should be emphasised that by far the majority of Fives courts in the UK are situated within schools, and any decision around who can use the courts ultimately rests with those schools. The RFA has already advised club secretaries to contact their host school to establish its attitude to the potential resumption of play.

The guidelines (revised on 28th August in light of further experience from clubs where play has resumed) can be read in full by clicking on this link, but these are some of the most important points:

  • Players accept that Control Measures are being put into place to minimise the risk of transmission and not to eliminate it.
  • Each Club will set up a method for recording the date and attendance at each session to allow Test and Trace to be completed. This record must be kept for 21 days.
  • Players (or the guardians of players under the age of 18) must make an informed decision about their own risk before playing.
  • All players must undergo a self-assessment for Covid-19 symptoms, and should not attend if they are displaying any symptoms.
  • Avoid using changing rooms, showers and toilets. Turn up for the Club session already changed.
  • Players should sanitise their hands on arrival and whenever gloves are removed.
  • When playing competitive games, players should keep at least one metre apart, but moving closer than one metre fleetingly (for less than three seconds) is allowed so long as they are not face-to-face.
  • If it appears that two players are likely to clash, then a ‘let’ must be called to prevent contact. But gloved hands can be used to stop the movement of another player and prevent close contact
  • The handshake at the end of each game is NOT allowed – an elbow bump is OK.
  • Spectators are allowed, but are limited to six and, together with the players, must be socially distanced in line with Government guidance – although school Control Measures may supersede this.