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Re-Starting Clubs - Covid-19 Update May 9th 2020

When Can Clubs Re-Start? - The Question of Everyone's Lips


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Athletics Ireland Insurance Cover

Athletics Ireland Insurance Cover for Clubs and Events has been suspended since March 13th.  Before anything restarts, Athletics Ireland Insurance Cover needs to have been re-instated. Insurance will NOT be restored until after Athletics Ireland has received the 'go ahead' from Sports Ireland, who will take their own lead from HSE and NPHET.

Clubs will not be covered until Athletics Ireland have Sport Ireland's permission to re-open. Athletics Ireland are also looking at waiver options for club users, as it doubts that insurers will cover any Covid-19 claims, however Athletics Ireland have also asked the question of its Insurers.

Athletics Ireland Proposal/Protocols

Athletics Ireland has submitted proposals and protocols to Sport Ireland, to allow clubs to return to activity during Phase 1. Cork Athletics has not received details of these proposals/protocols, however it is clear, from Phase 1 of the Roadmap, that  it will NOT be 'Business as Usual'

"Public sports grounds
Public sport amenities (for example: pitches, tennis courts, golf courses) can be opened where social distancing can be maintained.

Group exercise
People can exercise - either on their own or in a group of no more than 4 people - where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact with other people."

The draft protocols and information for clubs, around returning to athletics activity, are ready to go as soon as Athletics Ireland hears from Sport Ireland regarding club opening dates. However there will be significant logistical requirements for clubs to meet, to ensure that contact tracing, cleaning, and minimum distancing can take place.


Re-Opening of Facilities, including CIT Track

Most clubs in Cork do not have their own facilities, while a substantial number of clubs hire track and facilities from CIT and/or UCC. Colleges are not scheduled to re-open until September, at the very earliest, consequently, it is likely that this will also apply to their athletic facilities. 

  Athletics Ireland have a meeting with CIT, later next week, to discuss this matter, and the indoor facility development, which is progressing slowly, but positively. Further information regarding re-opening should be available following next week's meeting.


Draft Club Proceedures and Protocols

While details of Athletics Ireland's proposals and protocols are not yet avaliable to County Boards and Clubs, many clubs have started drafting their own proceedures and protocols (which, of course, will be modified, once approved procedures and protocols have been published by Athletics Ireland)

Included in some of the draft proceedures and protocols that Cork County Board is aware of are provision for:

  • A designated club official for Covid-19, who should be familiar with HSE, Public Health, Sport Ireland and Athletics Ireland guidelines on Covid-19.
  • Sign-in/Sign-out procedures, to facilitate contact tracing [Note: Any such contact tracing that may arise is the responsibility of the HSE, NOT the club. However each club should ensure that the contact details for all active members are up to date. This will include each Club Registrar ensuring that information on that club's members held in the Athletics Ireland Registration system is up to date]
  • How the club is going to ensure Social Distancing.
  • Hygiene protocol

Road Racing

Many questions have been raised about the resumption of road racing, however this appears to be much further down the line.  From Phase 3, commencing June 29th, "Sporting activities and events can resume “behind closed doors”, where arrangements are in place to enable participants to maintain social distancing"

This may facilitate, for instance, some T&F competition, however, by extension, Road Racing would NOT appear to comply in any respect.

Phase 4, commencing 20th July, would appear to be the earliest concieveable date for limited road racing, but, again, Social Distancing would need to be rigorously applied .... and this is probably unattainable. "Competitions for sports teams (for example, soccer and GAA) can resume, but only where limitations are placed on the numbers of spectators and where social distancing can be maintained.

Phase 5, Commencing August 10th
"Close physical contact sports, such as rugby and boxing, can resume."

Given the above, August 10th would appear to be the earliest start date for road races.  The scale, in terms of participation, organisation and spectator numbers, is still unclear, with suggestions, from some sources, that a scaled, and phased, re-opening of large events is on the cards.  This would see (relatively) smaller events initially, with progressively larger events being permitted, once it becomes clear that a resurgence of Covid-19 has not occurred following the earlier large events.

So......keep your Racing Shoes in the shoebox for a while yet!

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About Us

Cork Athletics County Board is a constituent member of Athletics Ireland. Cork Athletics is the governing body, administering athletics, track and field (T&F), cross-country (XC) and running in county Cork. The Board comprises elected representatives of constituent athletic clubs and running clubs. Cork County Board AAI organises Championship races and competition, including road, track & field (T&F) and Cross-country (XC), at junior, juvenile, senior and masters levels, and selects representation for the county. In addition, training and education is provided for coaches and officials. The Board also regulates the Athletics Ireland race/event permit (licence) process for county Cork.
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