Return to Play Update - 12th March

Further to recent announcements by the UK and Scottish governments this update

  1. Confirms our immediate plans for return to play, and 
  2. Provides an indication of our expectations for the following few months.

Throughout this announcement we refer to our Phased Return to Play framework . The infographic has also been updated to reflect the below. 

 

We also want to take this opportunity to provide reminders about the following general points:

  • Access the Covid-19 Club Preparation & Off-field Activity Guidance here
  • You can use the template Attendance Register online form here
  • If your club has been affected by a positive test result, please complete the Covid-19 Incident Report Form
  • We kindly ask all active or recently-active clubs to please complete the short survey regarding their training status
  • Please bear in mind that we are still working with significantly reduced staffing levels (~35% of normal)

Schools

As schools reopen this month, they are also now able to start playing more sport: both within the school and potentially even inter-school matches or competition.  We have created a short School-specific appendix to our Return to Play guidance.

 

<< UKU Club Guidance Appendix - Schools >>

 

Scotland

Following this statement by the Scottish Government:

  • Phase B training for groups of up to 15 people is permitted from Friday 12th March.  

You must check the local limitations on travel which we understand to be more restrictive for adults than they are for young people aged 12-17.  There is an indication that more detail about future changes will be published next week.

 

This particular change was made at relatively short notice, and unsurprisingly we have not yet had any update or contact from sportScotland.  It is possible we may receive information from sportScotland that requires us to make further last minute changes to the guidance.

 

England

Following the UK Government’s Roadmap announcement:

  • Phase B training is permitted from Mon 29th March until the end of the government’s Step 1.
  • Phase C training and/or local games will be permitted when we move to Step 2, no earlier than 12th April.

We are still hoping to receive some guidance about Government’s expectations or requirements as regards close-contact during play.  We are also monitoring what other team sports are planning to do. 

 

Wales and Northern Ireland

There are no changes to the current guidelines in either Wales or Northern Ireland, and so effectively no club or group training is permitted.

 

Longer-term outlook

For the time being we will have to continue to manage variations between the home nations, but presumably the removal of restrictions will align increasingly over the coming weeks and months. 

 

In the outline below we have used the UK Government’s four-step Roadmap as a preliminary framework for what our Return to Play timeline may look like, provided government guidance does not change

  • A transition to Phase D (possibly training only) will occur during Step 2: presumably towards the end of April.
  • Phase D competitive matches will be permitted from the start of Step 3 if not before.
  • In collaboration with BUCS we may move to permit competitive play at University level more quickly, as is already the case for schools.
  • During Step 3 we expect competitive play will be limited to fixtures between two teams only.
  • We assume that tournament play involving more than two teams will be permitted from Step 4, but note that the Government is still referring to “appropriate mitigations” being in place and we do not know what impact that might have on the reality/practicality of running a weekend ultimate event.  
  • So for the time being, we are not making plans to host and run weekend tournaments this summer other than retaining our existing booking for Nationals at the end of August.

We are working on more details for all of the following, but felt it was helpful to provide a limited update now:

 

Challenge League (name TBD)

We are finalising plans to create a competition framework that tracks the results of any and all matches between “registered teams” - along the lines of an idea we called the Challenge League when we published some limited information last year about how it might work.  We assume that games in this structure will be possible from Step 3 onwards.  

 

It is our goal that this approach will become the mechanism for determining UKU Rankings so that individual matches and smaller, local competitions can factor towards the national club rankings structure, as well as traditional weekend UKU Ranking events when play returns to normal. 

 

GB Futures

Whilst, sadly, there are no GB teams competing during 2021 in any age-group, there is continuing work to set up the GB Futures Scheme and more announcements and details will follow this month.  This will create some additional training and development opportunities for players in the 14-24 age-range over the coming summer, and we want to emphasise that Futures is a long-term, permanent programme.

 

Club Nationals 2021

The club National Championships series will go ahead, and will be open to all clubs.  We are expecting that the structure for qualification will not be the same as it was in 2019, and that we will have to adapt to an approach that does not rely on a weekend Regional qualifier at the usual time (end July / early Aug).  

 

We are planning that Nationals will act as a qualification mechanism for WUCC 2022.

 

European Competition

There is no EUCR-West in 2021, but there may be an European Club Finals on 30th Sept - 3rd Oct.  We do not know what the general entry procedure will be for this event, if it goes ahead and so we are not able to specify how this will be done for UK teams.  It is reasonable to assume that either it will be based on 2019 results, or qualification will be handled at Nationals.