The federal government’s top sport agency, Sport Australia, has unveiled new rules for the return of community sport across the country.
Under the guidelines, which can be implemented at all levels of sport, grandparents have been told to stay away from all matches.
Meanwhile just one parent will be permitted to attend their children’s games – and they’ll be expected to watch on from the car where suitable.
High-fives, handshakes and huddles have all been banned – while kids will have to shower and change at home.
Clubs will also need to appoint a COVID-19 safety co-ordinator to liaise with other clubs and peak bodies.
The COVID co-ordinator will be expected to establish a safety plan individually suited to their own club.
Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said the Sport Australia guidelines will help sport clubs across the country get back on track.
“Sporting clubs and organisations across Australia will play an enormous part in getting the nation back on track as we recover from the impact of COVID-19.”
It is up to the states and territories to determine when community sports will return – however having the Sport Australia guidelines in place could mean a quicker restart date for sport clubs.
Public health the top priority
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the new rules, revealed on Sunday in the ‘Return to Sport Toolkit’, are primarily aimed at supporting the safe resumption of community sport, with many clubs and associations reliant on a dedicated workforce of volunteers.
“The main thing I want to emphasise to all sport and participants is that public health is the most important consideration – advice from your Government health authorities is paramount.
“I urge all sporting participants not to jump the starting gun without first the consent of your relevant State and Territory Government health authorities,” Dalton said.
“Australia’s sporting community is desperately keen to get back in the game and resume playing the sports they love, but we need to ensure that is done in a safe, responsible and low risk manner so that we can keep moving forward towards the full resumption of sport.
Sport Australia recognises that many of our sporting clubs and associations are led by these wonderful people who now face very complex decisions with limited resources to manage a safe return to sport.
Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said: “Sporting clubs and organisations across Australia will play an enormous part in getting the nation back on track as we recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“The safe return of competition relies on a responsible rollout where everybody follows advice and takes precautions.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us – but together the National Principles, the AIS framework and Sport Australia’s toolkit offer tangible advice to ensure community sporting groups are prepared to control and deal with the virus in this new era.”
Four stages of return
Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit guides clubs and associations at every level to document their own COVID-19 Safety Plan.
As part of the Toolkit, a checklist works through practical and progressive steps such as: relevant approvals from your Government and National Sporting Organisation; facilities management; training behaviours; hygiene protocols; management of illness and; communicating these processes with members.
“The Toolkit works through four stages of return to sport: Prevent, Prepare, Respond and Recover,” Rob Dalton says.
“In the Prevent stage, it concentrates on steps like getting your COVID-19 Safety Plan in place and communicating that with members. Practical steps in the Prepare stage are looking at safe facility practises, like hand-sanitisers, attendance registers at training and limiting shared equipment as much as possible.