Following on from the NI Executive’s announcement on Wednesday 14th October, the Ulster Hockey Management Board has considered the implications of the restrictions on hockey, particularly in relation to training. We have also sought legal advice on the new health protection legislation: the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.2) (Amendment No. 9) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.
A defining factor has been the interpretation of the term ‘No Contact’ in the new legislation, and the implications to members where this is breached. Having considered this advice, the Board considers that there is significant risk to our member clubs if training were to continue.
In addition to considering the legal implications, we also considered the escalating spread of COVID across our communities. The health and well-being of our members is paramount at this time. Whilst there is limited evidence of transmission of the virus within a training or match context, there are some key risks around travel where we consider there is a potential that continued hockey training may facilitate the transmission of the virus. We are also aware that many clubs may be unable to access their usual training facilities which are run by local authorities or schools.
Considering all these factors, the Management Board has agreed that we must act responsibly in these unprecedented times and that we have a duty to protect our members and the communities in which they operate. Therefore, Ulster Hockey would advise that all hockey club training is now suspended until 14th November 2020. This coincides with the timing of the NI Executive’s current restrictions.
The COVID situation is ever-changing and we will continue to monitor the situation and will react to any changes in government advice.
In the meantime, Ulster Hockey commends all members of the hockey family for the efforts that have been made to ensure the sport is delivered in a safe environment. This is a difficult decision to take, and we’re all disappointed not to be able to play, watch and enjoy the sport we love, but we feel this is the right decision in the circumstances, and we hope the hockey family can come back stronger in a few weeks’ time.