We hope you are enjoying your summer so far. A quick update from your netball committee in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Like many of you, the club is desperate to get back to training and as such we are planning to resume in September. However, whether this will be face to face or virtual will depend on the advice of our governing body England Netball. A summary of their latest thoughts were relayed to netball clubs last week and is summarised below. The committee is busy doing our own risk assessments so that we are ready to go as soon as we get the approval from EN. In the meantime please keep an eye on this website for updates.
For those not aware England Netball held a zoom call last week to let us all know what they have been doing and what they have proposed to the government to try and get netball back up and running again at all levels. Although the changes have not yet been passed, we wanted to keep you up to date with what the changes could be.
• Firstly, this is not optional, every club and every league will be required by England Netball to appoint a COVID officer, this is per club not per team but the role can be shared. We also need a volunteer to take this on on behalf of the league, and again can be a shared position, so please discuss this with your members to see if anyone would be willing to take this on – training will be provided.
• EN gave several timelines for playing a full season, based on starting in October or as late as January. If we were unable to start until January and played a full season, this would mean not finishing until June/July – we understand this might not be ideal for everyone due to holidays and previous commitments from May. We will discuss the possibilities with you when we know exactly when we will be back on court. We could potentially just play half a season, playing each other once, this could also mean no promotion or relegation if the season cannot be played in full.
• Risk assessments will have to be carried out.
• Timing of the game to change – games will be 4 x 10 minute, this is to reduce the transition time of the virus and so that any sanitising needed can take place before the next games, this would include the goal posts and any gates onto the court areas.
• Distance over the whole court will be increased from three feet to four feet. Umpires will not necessarily pull this up, but will call out ‘distance’. This is probably one of the key points for players to get their heads around as it will change the game in many ways. Marking in the circle, marking down court, ready for a C pass on the third line, standing alongside your player for a penalty etc.
• There are to be no toss ups. If two players catch the ball simultaneously, the team who last had the ball will be awarded possession.
• Distance should be observed during the breaks, and no handshaking should take place.
• Score cards will not be handed in, but photographed and sent electronically.
• Scorers and subs must adhere to social distance, they continue to find a solution for bib changes during a game.
• Social distance nail checks to be carried out.
• Toss for C pass to be done by one person, that person must then pick the coin up and sanitise their hands
• Risk assessment for toilets to be completed.
• There is the problem that if an area has to go into lockdown, and teams have players from that area, they might not be able to field a team. There are implications too that if a player(s) contracts COVID, we might have to stop, the season would then become void again.
• Spectators may have to be banned.
• A one-way system to be put in place at the courts with signage.
• NHS track and trace to be adhered to.
• All club members should have received an email last week inviting them to register directly, by clicking on the appropriate place in the email. They are offering a 30% discount if you register before 30th September, in case anyone has any financial problems because of COVID. However, EN has asked us to urge members to pay the full amount if they are able. This offer has also been made available by Beds for that part of the payment, and you should also have received an email about this. Please check your Junk or other folders if you haven’t received it. It is a good idea to add email@example.com to make sure any emails from EN go to your Inbox. Please be aware that if you are already training or umpiring, you are not insured if you have not renewed your membership.
• A care package will be put in place by EN to help everyone get through this, it will be released when the government have agreed the proposals.
We realise this is a lot to take in, there are so many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ that we really don’t know when things will start up again. It is due to the contact and distance issues that Netball is considered in the high-risk category, more so than a lot of others sports. Experts have been helping EN assess risks by watching videos of games played in New Zealand and The Isle of Man, especially for this purpose.
We will provide an update as soon as more information has been released.