Impact of Local Restriction Tiers on return of hockey from 2 December
Following on from the government update for sport issued on the evening of 1 December, England Hockey can now confirm details for clubs, players, officials and associations.
In general terms the news is positive that clubs will be able to train and play matches, however there are now significant challenges related to travel that are likely to interrupt adult league activity.
The revised Tiers set out by government are more restrictive than the ones introduced in October. A key change announced relates to travel arrangements in Tier 2, where car sharing is now not allowed outside of your household or bubble and will apply to adult teams travelling for hockey.
For clubs in Tier 3, training and matches can take place but only for players and teams within the same Tier 3 Area. The same restrictions on car sharing apply as in Tier 2. Clubs are encouraged to welcome players that cannot access their usual club due to the restrictions.
The key changes are as follows:
Junior (under 18) and disability hockey has exemption and can continue across all Tiers. Cars can be shared if necessary as long as safer travel guidance is followed. Volunteers supporting junior hockey can travel.
Adult hockey is more restricted, as below:
Adult hockey in Tier 3:
- Players can only travel within their Tier 3 area to reach their club or to play matches within the same Tier 3 Area.
- Players that are members of Tier 1 or 2 clubs cannot leave the Tier 3 area to get to their club.
Adult hockey in Tier 2:
- Training and matches can take place.
- Car sharing is not permitted, meaning that teams must travel individually or in households/bubbles to matches.
Adult hockey in Tier 1:
- Training and matches can take place.
- Car sharing is allowed if following government safer travel guidance.
For more detail on what is allowed in each of the different Local Restriction Tier areas please click on the updated infographic below. Our Step 4 & 5 guidance in full is being updated to reflect the latest government guidance and will be published shortly.
We have also published a list of some of the most anticipated frequently asked questions here.
Importance of adhering to government advice
Outdoor team sport has been given dispensation to return but must demonstrate that it can continue to be done safely with people complying with the necessary expectations. Government has stated more strongly to all team sports’ National Governing Bodies that there are significant expectations that all sports adhere to the necessary social distancing and compliance with the government advice. Failure to adhere to these could lead to the removal of the current dispensation to play if breaches are reported, something that could be a local or national decision.
Therefore, we must stress the importance that all participants are compliant with Government rules and the supporting England Hockey Return to Play guidance. We all have a responsibility to play our part in returning safely. Adherence to measures will be monitored and any poor practice will reflect badly on the sport and may impact our longer-term return. Where guidance is clearly not being adhered to England Hockey will follow up with clubs accordingly through its disciplinary procedures.
Implications on Competitive Activity:
The travel restrictions included in the latest measures have a significant impact on the England Hockey League and Regional Leagues and England Hockey has been in contact with leagues and participating EHL clubs.
In the wider game we welcome leagues facilitating matches where clubs are happy to return to play but not obligating fixtures to be fulfilled where clubs are not comfortable with the circumstances. In light of the Tier 2 car sharing restrictions this is likely to be more problematic.
With travel exemptions in place for Under 18s, we are planning for our Junior Championships to continue. We plan to resume our U14, U16 and U18 championships in January. We have revised the Adult and Masters’ Championships dates which we have rescheduled to resume in late February and extend into the early summer. We believe this gives us the best chance of running and concluding these Championships. England Hockey will communicate next week with all participants to update in more detail. Our Schools Championships have not yet started and we will review the feasibility of these commencing in the New Year shortly.