New guidance on outdoor training
In our last update, on 28 May, we said that we would keep the situation with the season suspension and return to play under constant review in line with any new advice from the Government.
Many of you will have noted the Government issued further guidance regarding a phased return to sport and recreation on Sunday 31 May (click here to read more). This includes more detailed information regarding the use of equipment (including balls) and the training of multiple groups. We have reviewed this guidance and we can now share updates to our guidelines for BAFA members.
Given physical contact with anyone outside the same household is currently not permitted, British American football games, friendlies, practices and any contact activity must remain suspended until Friday 3 July 2020. Further guidance on this suspension will be shared ahead of that date.
However from midnight Friday 5 June 2020, if facility owners allow and wish to open their facilities, BAFA members in England will be able to engage in outdoor field based individual training with members of their own household, or as part of a small group of up to six individuals from different households whilst staying two metres apart.
If the practice is coach-led, the coach must be considered part of the group of six.
This training allows for practicing of skills and fitness activities. The playing of any games, small sided or full, is not permitted. In line with government guidance equipment sharing, including balls, is permitted, although should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practice must be in place at all times.
Two or more groups of six may train at the same location provided they are kept wholly separate. And while multiple small groups can engage in training at the same site, clubs and coaches must risk assess this properly and ensure that safe and adequate distancing between groups is strictly observed. Facilities that are open and being utilised must follow relevant government guidance.
Parents/carers observing a training session at a distance from a safeguarding perspective is permitted, without them being part of the participating group.
Full guidance for American football based physical activity can be found here.
We appreciate this is a complex situation and we are doing our very best with the guidance we have been given. We have produced this infographic which we hope is useful and summarises the new guidelines in as simple a way as possible.
It’s also important that we remember people should avoid mixing with too many others from outside their household in a short space of time, and care should be taken at all times as there is a continued risk of infection. And of course, if any individual is symptomatic, living in a household with possible COVID-19 infection or is vulnerable on health grounds the guidance is to stay at home.
Scotland and Wales
As you will know, current advice on outdoor activity differs if you are based in Scotland or Wales, and BAFA members should follow their relevant country guidelines. We understand the situation is complicated enough already and having different guidelines for different parts of Great Britain does not help. But we urge you to stick to the advice outlined in your location.
We will be liaising closely with Home Countries sports councils as we continue to update our guidelines.
We are now working on a roadmap to show the steps we aim to take to guide British American football as lockdown measures ease further. We will share this with the Britball community in the near future.
In addition, we are looking at the impact of the above outdoor training guidelines on restarting any playing opportunities – we will continue to work closely with, and consult, all relevant stakeholders on this.
If helpful, the Government’s current guidance on staying safe outside your home can be found here. If you have any specific queries about your form of the game, then please do contact your relevant Commission Lead.
As ever, we hugely appreciate your understanding as we navigate through this complex period and above all else, we hope that everyone can continue to stay safe and healthy.
Pete Ackerley, BAFA Chief Executive & Wayne Hill, BAFCA President
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