Pivotal week ahead for Irish sporting bodies

Donn O'Sullivan, Sports Editor

Reporter:

Donn O'Sullivan, Sports Editor

Email:

donn.osullivan@limerickleader.ie

Pivotal week ahead for Irish sporting bodies

WHILE some of the current public health restrictions may be eased on May 5, the government has confirmed that no major events with large crowds will take place in Limerick or elsewhere this summer.

In a statement last Tuesday evening, the government noted there are a number of “largescale future events” which require licensing and the involvement of the HSE and An Garda Síochána, and public consultation before local authorities can make any decision.

“In the case of these particular events, and taking account of the impacts on the integrity of the licensing process in the short-term due to restrictions on stakeholder involvement, local authorities have been advised by government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licences in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August,” read the statement.

So where does this leave sport in Ireland? Those events that attract 5,000 or more are postponed, but can smaller sized events take place? Can games with no fans take place? Confusion is rife as sporting bodies look for clarity from the government in these, most unprecedented, times.

Both the FAI and the IRFU have sought a meeting with the government, while the GAA are adopting a 'wait and see approach' as to whether club championships in each county would get a green light, while the governing body is also playing for an inter county season with little or no fans involved.

The week ahead, where another government announcement is expected on changes to the current state of ‘lockdown’ - is potentially a pivotal week in the future of Irish sport.

To add to the confusion being experienced by sports bodies and players, Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic means it could be some time before it is possible for contact sports to be played again in the country.

“All of us would love to be back in action as soon as we possibly can,” Treacy said at the launch of the government's new In This Together campaign, promoting mental and physical well-being during lockdown.

“Sport is planning for that day. Some sports are non-contact, done outdoors, with a lot of physical distancing, and they will obviously be a priority.

“I think it will be a lot trickier for some of the contact sports, and we'll just have to monitor that very carefully.

“But it's up to Government to give the green light. We provide the information and the decisions will be made.” Treacy added.

The week ahead is set to be a pivotal one for all involved.