Thanks to the small group (Greg, Gaby, Ellie, Ian, Luke and me) who zoomed in for another call last night to discuss action needed to keep us playing safe hockey at Adel.

Sadly, the YYHL junior league have suspended activity until January 2021 due to challenges organising Sunday tournaments but we are looking into the prospects of trying to play some junior games against local clubs, but with fewer attendees.

Elsewhere, some clubs have decided to not permit spectators at matches for a variety of reasons – local authority/premises management instruction, not having time to implement what is needed or insufficient manpower to provide on site support.  At this stage the strong advice in Leeds continues to be that spectators should not watch amateur sport, with the exception of a parent in a safeguarding capacity.  If you do need to be there, you should wear a face mask whilst spectating at the pitch.

It is also not ideal for children of players to be at the side of the pitch in current conditions.  If you can make alternative childcare arrangements when you are playing this would be appreciated.

Initially, the meeting last night was to try and find a way to permit spectators to watch Adel home games.  However, a lot can happen in a short space of time and covid-compliant hockey is no exception.  With huge thanks to input from Si Law who oversees this sort of issue in his day job at Leeds Trinity, many suggestions were made to improve the safety of participants at the astro pitch.  There are different requirements for training nights, match day participants, anyone spectating in a permitted capacity and Covid Marshals.  Checklists are being drafted for each of these areas.

We also require improved signs at the pitch, more QR coding to separate pitch users from bar users so any impact on one venue doesn’t risk closing the other, path markings to highlight “watch zones” in accordance with the social distancing needed, seating zones in dug outs and plenty more.  We hope to put most of this in place on Friday this week.

A one way system is required with appropriate marking – please enter the pitch if you are playing/officiating by the left hand gate as you approach from the path and then leave from the right hand gate on the dug out side when finished. The exception to this will be any permitted spectators who should enter by the right hand gate on the dug out side but at a safe social distance from players leaving the pitch that way.  This system will apply on training nights (junior and senior) and matchdays.

Players waiting to play in their game should avoid meeting pitch-side by the dugouts as has been customary in the past.  With more time between games, you should still have the same warm up time prior to a game.  Please arrange to meet on the cricket field now their season is over, noting the need to be careful if the archers are out practicing.  When the game before yours ends at the pitch, please make your way to the pitch to enter through the left hand gate once players have left the dug out areas, trying to avoid crossing over on the paths with players leaving in the opposite direction.

Adel players at home should check in prior to the game as is currently required and then also scan both Adel QR & the NHS QR code at the pitch.  Away players only need to scan the NHS QR code.

If you have watched the video from England Hockey CEO, Nick Pink, you will have heard him reinforce the need for everyone to socially distance away from the pitch at all times. maximum of 6 in a group and the need to be 2m apart.  The simplest way to remember this is that the only time you do not need to follow these rules is when the game you are playing in is active.  If waiting to play, preparing to play in a warm up or team talk (no pre-match huddles please!), waiting for a corner to be taken etc then these 2m and max of 6 rules apply.

At Adel we plan to arrange for a Covid Marshal for each game and each week  who will have responsibility to make sure everyone at the pitch observes the required procedures.  I am sure there will be a willing queue of volunteers, even if it is only to allow you to watch a game at the pitch, but if there are no volunteers, the home captain will need to arrange for one of their team members to help find the volunteer.  Greg has agreed to oversee appointment duties for the Marshals.

The lead coaches may also review our approach to training in order to minimise the damage on the club if we do encounter a positive test from a pitch user.  If we can segment teams at training to reduce contact points with players from other teams, then any outbreak may only have implications for one team rather than multiple.  This extends to use of the dug-outs, warm-ups, and drills, where separate squads might need to split out into separate areas.

Once the relevant checklists for matchdays, training nights, spectators and covid marshals have been produced please make sure you are familiar with them.

As ever, thank you all for your patience and understanding.  Safety and member health continue to be our primary focus in any decisions taken and whilst we would normally conduct business at a monthly committee meeting, the need for speed in the ever-changing environment makes it more effective for us to continue to try and drive this forward in a smaller sub-committee who meets more frequently.

Mark