The GAA’s dedicated Advisory Group have met to discuss an outline on a GAA roadmap of plans. The group will advise the GAA on return to play protocols.
According to RTE Sport, the group met on Monday night to discuss procedures and opening of GAA grounds and property. It is expected the committee will now meet on a regular basis. It will recommend a pathway which will be suited to the amateur status of the GAA and culture. The advisory group are aware the effect of closed club grounds on rural Ireland. In a statement they said, “When the time comes the GAA Management Committee will decide when to go back to training and games and also how we will go back,”.
It continued,“The Covid-19 Advisory Group has been established to advise the GAA from a health and welfare perspective. “The remit will centre on return-to-play protocols around training, playing and safely facilitating spectators – when that times comes. “There are other specific areas that need to be carefully looked at too.
The spokesperson said that rules will have to be drawn up regarding the opening of ball alleys and handball alleys. “For example, we may need specific rules to be drawn up for the convention of opening up ball-alleys or handball courts, and the committee will be invaluable in drawing up documents for such scenarios.”
An update is expected on May 18th. However, an imminent return to play is unlikely according to the spokesperson. “Certainly, no-one could envisage any imminent return to play as the downward movement of the Covid-19 rate of infection is not enough at the moment.
RTE Sport also report that they expect the committee to announce a phased approach to players returning to training. Just like current guidelines for soccer in Italy and Spain where training in large groups is forbidden I would expect something similar to occur here. It will likely start of smaller groups, before progressing to large group non contact training and then full training.
RTE also report that the Covid 19 advisory committee will provide advice and safety details on how everyone involved in sport will be able engage safely. Furthermore, match advice will also be given, as will the use of facilities and stadium preparation. The committee itself is made up some medical experts with GAA experience, admin from Croke Park and representatives from the GPA and ladies football and camogie associations.
Earlier last week, it was reported that 57% of club players would return to training if a vaccine was in place. However, it is looking likely a vaccine won’t be in place till next year.