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FAI SAFER RETURN TO TRAINING & PLAY PROTOCOL GRASSROOTS UNDERAGE, YOUTH & ADULT FOOTBALL


7TH Edition – Updated June 4th 2021
INTRODUCTION

  • This Protocol applies to all training sessions and matches from Monday 7
    th June 2021.
  • The primary aim of this Protocol is to support the clubs affiliated to the FAI and to protect
    the health & safety of their players, coaches, all essential personnel, and volunteers in a
    safer return to training and matches.
  • This Protocol will be in line with Department of Health and Public Health Policy at all times.
  • This Protocol will follow all Government updates on the Resilience and Recovery: The Path
    Ahead guidelines.
  • The Protocol will be utilised in line with all other FAI policy documents including Child
    Welfare & Safeguarding Policy.
    CONTENT
    1 – Key Dates
    2 – Club Management | COVID-19 Compliance Officers
    3 – Preparing Training Venues, Facilities & Equipment
    4 – Training Groups | Numbers
    5 – Match Day
    6 – Crowd Control for Club Venues
    7 – Coach Responsibilities
    8 – Before You Coach
    9 – Player Responsibilities
    10 – Before You Train/Play
    11 – Training Sessions
    12 – Contact Definition
    13 – Updating Policy
    14 – Next Steps

  • 1 – Key Dates
  • This Protocol applies to all training sessions and matches from Monday 7
    th June 2021 and
    must be adhered to for all training sessions and matches under the jurisdiction of the FAI
    and its Affiliates.

  • 2 – Club Management COVID-19 Compliance
  • Club management committees must review the FAI Safer Return to Training & Play Protocol
    7th Edition ahead of any return to games from Monday 7
    th June 2021.
  • No indoor dressing rooms to be used until further notice.
  • COVID-19 Compliance Officers should be familiar with the Updated FAI Safer Return to
    Training & Play Protocol 7
    th edition in advance of any consultation with their club.
  • All clubs must appoint at least one COVID-19 Compliance Officer before any return to
    training/matches are implemented.
  • Clubs with multiple training/match venues will need to appoint more than one COVID-19
    Compliance Officer (minimum 1 per training/match venue).
  • The Football Association of Ireland will provide Role & Responsibilities Document for all
    COVID-19 Compliance Officers.
  • Clubs must confirm appointment of COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s) to FAI via the checklist
    before any return to training/play. Clubs who have already completed this process do not
    need to do so again.
  • Clubs must ensure, through their Compliance Officers, that all coaches, parents and players
    are fully aware of their responsibilities.
  • Clubs must continually educate players/coaches/parents/guardians/volunteers – see
    https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
  • Clubs are advised to inform insurers of their intention to return to training/matches.
  • Clubs who are returning to training/matches must follow all steps set out above.

  • 3 – Preparing Training and Match Venues, Facilities & Equipment
  • A COVID-19 Risk Assessment must be carried out by all clubs in advance of any resumption
    of training/matches and/or facility reopening.
  • FAI Risk Assessment Template can be found here – FAI Risk Assessment Template
  • The Risk Assessment must be reviewed in advance of training/matches returning and kept
    up to date at all times.
  • The Risk Assessment must be in line with any Government updates to the Resilience and
    Recovery: The Path Ahead guidelines.
  • No dressing rooms can be used.
  • No shower facilities can be used.
  • Sanitary facilities should be accessible for players and coaches.
  • Sanitary facilities should be thoroughly cleaned before the first and after the last training
    session/match at the venue.
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning products should be available in the sanitary facilities for use
    during training sessions.
  • All training equipment – including goalposts – must be sanitised before and after every
    training session/game.
  • Players and Coaches must bring their own hand sanitisers.
  • Clubs are advised to have hand sanitisers in place and observe strict hand hygiene measures.
  • COVID-19 Signage must be clearly visible throughout the training facility.
  • COVID-19 Signage is available to download from www.fai.ie

  • 4- Training Groups / Numbers
  • Underage Training (Under 18) – (Pod of 13 players and minimum 2 coaches)
  • Adult Training- (Pod of 14 players and minimum 1 coach)
  • Clubs must adhere to the FAI Child Welfare and Safeguarding Policy and other associated
    policies, at all times which can be found here – FAI Child Welfare & Safeguarding Policy
  • Only essential personnel are permitted access onto the training pitch/match pitch.
  • More than one team can train at a venue at any given time provided there is a clear buffer
    zone between the groups.
  • Keep training times staggered to ease the flow of arrivals and departures of players and
    coaches.

  • 5 – Match Day
  • Matches can resume from Monday 7th June 2021.
  • Teams should arrive as close to kick off as possible.
  • All players and staff should travel to games in line with HSE Guidelines gov.ie – COVID-19
    Travel Advice (www.gov.ie)
  • Travel in your gear.
  • Bring your own labelled food and water in a sealed bag.
  • On arrival observe and obey COVID-19 signage.
  • Player and coaches should observe 2 metre social distance where possible (Warm Ups,
    Meetings, Team Talks).
  • No hand greetings are permitted.
  • No spitting is permitted.
  • Pre-match and half time meetings should take place on the pitch.
  • Dugouts should be avoided unless adequate 2 metre social distancing can take place.
  • A coach or club physio can attend an injured player on the pitch but please wear a facemask
    and gloves.
  • A designated room can be used to treat injured players.
  • A player/match official suspected of a new onset of covid 19 must be given a facemask and
    isolated from the rest of the attendees.
  • After the game please adhere to social distancing guidelines and leave the complex as
    quickly as possible.
  • Each club COVID-19 Compliance Officer is responsible for keeping a list of their own squad
    for each match day for contact tracing purposes. This does not apply to spectators.
  • Toilet facilities can be used with cleaning after each event.

  • 6 – Crowd Control for Club Venues
  • The numbers permitted for outdoor match day from 7th June is 100 for a capacity of lower
    than 5,000 and 200 for a capacity of higher than 5,000 people as per government guidelines.
  • https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/7894b-post-cabinet-statement-resilience-andrecovery-the-path-ahead/
  • Spectators should ensure 2 metre social distancing is maintained at all times and avoid
    congregating.

  • 7- Coach Responsibilities
  • All coaches must be familiar with the Updated FAI Safer Return to Training/Play Protocol.
  • All coaches must ensure that all participants in training sessions/matches are briefed on the
    Updated FAI Safer Return to Training/Play Protocol.
  • Coaches must arrive to the training session/match in their training gear.
  • All coaches must adhere to the Updated FAI Safer Return to Training/Play Protocol
    throughout the full duration of the training session/match.
  • Coaches must provide a register of attendees at all training sessions/matches to the COVID19 Compliance Officer for contact tracing purposes.
  • Coaches must bring their own hand sanitizer.
  • Coaches must ensure that the training area and pitch is clear of all equipment before leaving
    the facility.

  • 8 – Before You Coach
    If you feel unwell, the following guidelines should be followed:
    https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html
    If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 you must follow the advice
    provided here – https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/testing/if-you-are-a-close-contact.html
    Guidelines on when and how to restrict movements can be found here –
    https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/managing-coronavirus-at-home/if-you-live-withsomeone-who-has-coronavirus.html

  • 9 – Player Responsibilities
  • All adult players & parents/guardians of underage players must be familiar with the Updated
    FAI Safer Return to Training/Play Protocol.
  • Clubs must ensure that all players & parents/guardians of underage players are briefed on
    the Updated Protocol before returning to training/matches.
  • Players and parents/guardians are advised to keep up to date with HSE Guidelines.
  • Players must arrive in their training gear/match gear and with their own equipment
    including water (labelled with their name) and shin pads.
  • Goalkeepers, or any player acting as a goalkeeper, must wear their own gloves
  • Players must bring their own hand sanitiser.
  • Personal items must be labelled with the player’s name and not shared.
  • Players must bring all personal items home with them.

  • 10 – Before You Train/Play
    If you feel unwell, the following guidelines should be followed:
    https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html
    If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 you must follow the advice
    provided here – https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/testing/if-you-are-a-close-contact.html
    Guidelines on when and how to restrict movements can be found here –
    https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/managing-coronavirus-at-home/if-you-live-withsomeone-who-has-coronavirus.html
    11– Training sessions
  • Access and egress to and from the training pitch or area must be coordinated and is subject
    to social distancing guidelines.
  • A 15 minute gap between sessions must be implemented if consecutive training sessions are
    scheduled on the same training area.
  • All activity must take place only on the training pitch or area.
  • Players and coaches must practice good coughing & sneezing etiquette.
  • Players and coaches must adhere to HSE guidelines on hand hygiene at all times.
  • Any meeting which may need to take place must take place on the training pitch area and
    should last no longer than 10 minutes.
  • All meetings and briefings on the training pitch or area must adhere to social distancing
    guidelines. Please avoid players queueing within activities.
  • Contact must be made with a parent/guardian of any underage player who is suspected of
    contracting COVID-19.
  • Players in need of attention, where possible, should be treated on the pitch.
  • A coach or Club Physiotherapist can attend an injured player on the pitch.
  • They should wear a face mask and gloves.
  • A designated room – where applicable and necessary – can be used for treating an injured
    player.
  • Physiotherapists – where applicable – must wear PPE.
  • A player or coach suspected of a new onset of COVID-19 must be given a face mask and
    must be isolated immediately from the rest of the attendees.
  • Contact must be made with a parent/guardian of any underage player who is suspected of
    contracting COVID-19.

  • 12 – Contact definition
    Close Contact -v- Casual Contact
    Guidelines on close and casual contacts can be found here –
    https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/close-contact-and-casual-contact.html
    13 – Updating Policy
  • Clubs should communicate regularly to review implementation, Risk Assessment and
    Updated FAI Safer Return to Training and Play Protocols.
  • All clubs should hold regular de-briefing sessions with coaches, player representatives and
    COVID-19 Compliance Officers and also seek feedback from spectators.

  • 14 – Next Steps
  • The FAI will continue to update this FAI Safer Return to Training & Play Protocol based on
    the advice of Government and Health agencies.
  • All FAI Safer Return to Training and Play Protocols updated will be posted on FAI.ie
  • All enquiries can be emailed to covidchecklist@fai.ie
    All stakeholders, including players, match officials, coaches, administrators and parents
    and spectators have a responsibility in ensuring the above guidelines are adhered to at all
    times. In turn, this will ensure that our players can continue to participate safely in sport.

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