From pods to carpools: FAI issue new Covid-19 advice for indoor training
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has issued clubs around the country with new advice after a number of changes to Covid-19 protocols which came into effect from September 21 to October 22 under the Government’s latest ‘Reframing the Challenge, Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting’ programme.
As Ireland continues to emerge from the effects of the current pandemic, the FAI has reminded all players, coaches, officials and volunteers to continue to practice mask-wearing indoors, practice good hand sanitation, engage in appropriate cough and sneezing etiquette and respect two-metre social distancing.
New protocols also come into effect on indoor training from September 21, in pods of six players with a maximum of two coaches.
The Association has also informed stakeholders that the new Government plan will feature a significant shift from regulation and guideline to one of personal responsibility and urges abidance with this policy.
All protocol updates are in line with the latest Government guidelines and the FAI again thanks all stakeholders for their ongoing diligence in the fight against COVID-19. The FAI will update these protocols before the transition period expires on October 22.
Key measures to note from September 21 to October 22 include:
- Do not show up to participate, coach, manage, referee, or work at a venue/workplace if you are unwell - check with your GP first and get tested if in any doubt.
- Only team players, match officials and support staff are allowed in dressing rooms for a maximum period of 15 minutes.
- Wear face mask in all indoor settings.
- Sanitize your hands regularly.
- Observe 2 metre social distancing in dressing rooms and all indoor facilities at all times.
- Clear signage is to be displayed on capacities and spacing in dressing rooms.
- Hand sanitization stations to be placed at each dressing room entrance.
- A clear flow management plan for dressing rooms to be in use.
- Practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette.
- Showers are best avoided if possible in the transition period. If shower use is unavoidable, only use every second cubicle/shower head with a maximum of 5 minutes allowed in the shower.
A COVID-19 Risk Assessment must be carried out by all clubs in advance of any resumption of training/matches and/or facility reopening.
The Risk Assessment must be reviewed in advance of training/matches returning, dressing rooms reopening and kept up to date at all times.
- Indoor training is permitted in pods of six players and maximum two coaches up to October 22.
- Indoor training areas for each pod must measure a minimum of 96 square metres.
- A buffer zone two metres wide must exist between each pod where multiple pods of six players are training.
- All indoor training areas must be suitably ventilated at all times.
- Multiple training sessions can take place concurrently once venue is big enough.
- Players and coaches do not have to be vaccinated to train indoors.
- Hand sanitizer must be available at all indoor training areas.
- Spectator numbers are limited to the venue’s social distancing guidelines.
- All spectators must adhere to 2 metre social distancing.
In relation to Gyms and Training Facilities within clubs, these may operate in line with the broader permissions for indoor facilities. Appropriate protective measures and COVID protocols should be in place.
Since the emergence of COVID 19 football has developed and implemented a wide range of protocols and protective measures to limit the transmission of COVID 19 and ensure the safety of participants, volunteers, staff and spectators.
As mandatory restrictions unwind football should continue to manage COVID-19 on the basis that it will likely continue to be constantly present into the foreseeable future.
Football should seek to maintain overarching structures and basic protective measures throughout the Winter season.
These include the use of COVID 19 Officers, recommending symptomatic individuals do not participate in or attend sporting activities, the ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene along with the wearing a face coverings in relevant settings and considering indoor space densities and duration of indoor activities.
Transport To and From Activities & Events
While public transport is operating at full capacity, private coach tour activity is limited at 75% capacity with protective measures.
- Football clubs/league organising transport to/from events should implement private Coach Tour capacities (75%).
- Protective measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing etc. should also be implemented.
- In line with the return of public and private transport participants may wish to return to the use of carpooling.
- Private transport carrying those not yet vaccinated or of mixed immunity should be aware of the higher risk. The use of appropriate face coverings is recommended.
- If carpooling consider use of a pod system in which the same participants pool together for all activities.
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