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    Wales Netball

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    July 31, 2020

Welsh Government Review: Update from Welsh Netball

Today (Friday 31 July) First Minister Mark Drakeford made the positive announcement that sports and leisure facilities can re-open in Wales from Monday 10 August. We are supportive of this news and of our colleagues in the sports and leisure sector, who have been working tirelessly to achieve this decision.

What does today’s announcement mean for
netball in Wales?

We are seeing the opportunities for a gradual
return to netball moving ever closer and we are working collaboratively to
ensure a safe return to our sport as soon as possible. However, the
announcement from the First Minister regarding the re-opening of facilities
does not mean any immediate changes for netball.  Netball in Wales remains
at Stage 2 of our ‘Return to Play’ roadmap at present. Nevertheless, today’s announcement is an exciting step for our
sport and could mean that netball returns sooner than we
had anticipated. Whilst we are delighted by this
news, there is still work to be done to be able to get
us back onto court and to be able to play netball in its fullest
form.

Should I book a facility for my Club / League?

We understand that many people are excited by
today’s announcement and are eager to get back on court. However, we are also
aware that many are worried about not being able to access space unless they
book courts as leisure facilities slowly re-open. Any training a club
undertakes has to be in alignment with the current stage of our ‘Return to
Play’ roadmap (currently at Stage 2) If you choose to book a venue, we strongly
recommend that you ensure that you are aware of any cancellation policies and
any costs that you will potentially incur if you are unable to use the
facility. The decision to book facility space is to be made at your own
discretion. The ‘Return to Play’ roadmap must be adhered to throughout all of
its Stages.  

What does the announcement that Under 11s no
longer have to adhere to social distancing mean for netball?

We were surprised by inclusion of this change
in regulations for children aged under 11 years old. Welsh Netball is currently
considering the implications of this rule change for our ‘Return to Play’
roadmap and will announce any subsequent changes in due course.

What’s next?

Welsh Netball must
now submit a risk assessment, medical evidence and a comprehensive
action plan for approval to the Welsh Government. This must
demonstrate how we can safely return to some form of netball. We
have already begun working on this guidance behind the scenes. We aim to submit
our plan to Public Health Wales, Sport Wales and Welsh Government by
mid-August. During this time we are also hopeful to move further along our
‘Return to Play’ roadmap. Until the risk assessment, action plan and next phase
of netball’s return has been signed off by Welsh Government, netball must
remain in the earlier stages of the roadmap. This means that, for now, our
Stage 2 guidance must continued to be followed, which allows for outdoor
training for up to 15 participants (including coaches) outdoors, observing
social distancing with no sharing of equipment.

What Can Clubs /
Leagues and Areas do in the meantime?

Introducing: #NetsGetReady

Over the next few weeks and months
each club, league, and area association will have work to do to
ensure they can deliver netball safely once the our netball action plan
has been approved by the Welsh Government. Welsh Netball will support
you every step of the way to achieve these mandatory requirements via training,
resources and templates so that together we can get back on court as
quickly and as safely as possible. This will be done through our #NetsGetReady
steps.

There are at least 5 mandatory #NetsGetReady steps that all clubs and netball organisers will be
required to complete before they re-commence netball activities from Stage 3
and beyond of the Return to Play roadmap. These steps are:

  1. Appoint a COVID-19 Co-ordinator 
  2. Complete COVID-19 Co-ordinator Training
    (online webinar) 
  3. Undertake a
    robust COVID-19 Risk Assessment 
  4. Complete the Welsh Netball ‘Return
    to Play’ registration form 
  5. Re-affiliate your club and members to
    Welsh Netball for 2020/21 season 

Detailed
training, advice and guidance will be provided to our clubs, leagues and
associations to support them through these steps. Further information on this
will be made available shortly.

Once the #NetsGetReady
steps have been completed, you will receive your #NetsGetReady
endorsement from Welsh Netball. This will give confidence to both facility
providers and your netball participants. Our aim is to ensure that every club
and team is fully prepared before netball begins.

We know that you all want to get back to netball,
however, our sport will not look like it did before for a while longer. We
understand it can be frustrating, especially seeing other sports appear to
return at an accelerated rate, however, our sport must be judged on the nature
of the game. We are higher risk than many other team sports and subsequently
the return for our sport differs from outdoor contact sports.

The health and wellbeing of our members and
participants of our sport is still the priority as we strive to unlock the next
steps on the road map in a safe, phased and clear way.

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