Information for regions, counties, clubs and leagues.
The health and safety of the Netball Family is always our number one priority. With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the increase, we wanted to offer support to everyone that organises netball activities to ensure that, collectively, we minimise risk, while ensuring that people can continue to enjoy facilitating, participating and spectating netball, while it remains safe to do so.
It is important to note that the information around coronavirus is regularly being updated and all organisers and committees/boards should check the most up to date guidance from UK government.
At this point in time and based on the government’s guidance, netball activity can continue (date of issue 12 March 2020).
Please take the time to read the following prevention advice:
- Ahead of each fixture or training session, check the latest information here on restricted travel areas and advice regarding any quarantines and self-isolation.
- Communicate with players, coaches, umpires or volunteers to ensure they are not showing any symptoms and have not travelled to any affected locations (please make sure they use most up to date information from Public Health England). If they suspect they may have coronavirus or are displaying symptoms as listed here they should not attend any netball activity and should follow the government’s guidance.
- Ensure your venue has hand washing facilities (hot water and replenished soap dispensers) and where possible have hand sanitisers available as well.
- Identify somewhere at your venue that could be used to isolate a participant, coach, volunteer or other attendee if they feel unwell and show symptoms during a training session/fixture. As of 12 March 2020 the advice for anyone showing symptoms is to self-isolate and if symptoms worsen after seven days or are no better contact NHS 111 online.
- Ensure all contact details of your members are up to date – this should include emergency contacts for during a session as well as details to make contact to share important information or arrangements ahead of a training session or fixture with members themselves.
- Players are entitled, should they wish, not to shake hands or have any other form of physical contact with their opponents (for example at the end of their match).
- Avoid sharing towels, kit and bibs. Where necessary remove any shared kit, bibs and towels for laundering, this should be done on a hot wash 60°C.
- All equipment, particularly netballs should be wiped after each training session or match with hot soapy water or antibacterial spray/wipes – you may even want to take extra steps and wipe the ball between quarters of any matches.
Managing your club or league during the current coronavirus situation:
Any centrally organised England Netball competitions and events e.g. National Schools Finals, currently have specific guidance being issued to teams and attendees. The information below are things that we have considered and wanted to share – each scenario is different and this article therefore aims to help equip you to make appropriate decisions around your activity.
- Consider the guidance you issue to teams and players; you may want to get each team or player to confirm they are not showing any signs/symptoms of coronavirus and have not travelled to restricted areas as detailed
- Any team competing in an England Netball competition with three or more players that have been advised to self-isolate or are displaying symptoms, may re-schedule a fixture without any penalty. It is difficult to make decisions on matters like this, however we would recommend ensuring that health and safety is always considered and clear communication is in place to help and you adopt a consistent approach for all teams.
- If league fixtures need to be cancelled due to venue closures, do you have a contingency in place just in case? This could be setting a reserve fixture date or an additional reserve date, exploring alternative venues. It is important to clearly communicate any changes and also ask for confirmation of receipt of communication to avoid misunderstanding or confusion.
- There may be scenarios that mean teams or leagues are unable to conclude their season or club training sessions need to be cancelled. Make sure you understand your current regulations around cancelled fixtures.
- You may wish to consider how you will react to a league season that is unable to conclude the season. Consider if there are any implications of delaying fixtures or finals; it is appreciated players will prefer to conclude the competition but obviously the advice of Public Health England should not be ignored.
- If your league is unlikely to be concluded prior to any play off fixtures/competition (run by your own league or another organising committee), we recommend advising the play off organisers ASAP to help with careful planning. England Netball will communicate with Regional Competition Technical Support Groups with regard to Premier League Play Offs and U14 and U16 National Clubs in particular.
- Consider identifying someone or a small group to take responsibility for monitoring the current situation and sharing the information as relevant. It’s important to make sure information is clear. Where possible we all want netball activity to continue, but the health and safety of the Netball Family is our main priority and we want to ensure everything possible is done to avoid the spread of coronavirus. Don’t panic, this doesn’t need to be a whole new volunteer with a huge role, it could simply be identifying which role(s) within your club/league/county/region is going to monitor the situation through the information available from UK government and venue owners etc. We would suggest that the Chair is involved where possible.
- We know it’s often difficult enough to find umpires, but if possible try to identify any reserve umpires who could be available in case an umpire becomes unwell or needs to self-isolate.
We encourage you to continue to review the latest government advice, which is available on the government website here. We will continue to provide additional guidance where possible to everyone in the Netball Family to do our best to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.