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Statement from the Board of Tennis Ireland – 22 October

Tennis Ireland and the wider sporting sector have received clarification from Government, this evening, in relation to the protocols that refer to Level 5 of the Framework for Restrictive Measures to deal with the COVID-19 emergency.

The Government’s guidance on Level 5 is now clear, with the risk to public health meaning that individuals are asked to stay at home with certain exceptions.

The protocols, as they relate to Tennis, can be summarised as follows;

No Tennis activities should take place during the Level 5 restriction with the following exceptions:

  • Non-contact training / coaching can continue for school aged children under the supervision of designated coaches. It must occur outdoors in pods of no more than 6 players per court. A maximum of 4 players can operate on the court at any one time while remaining in their own sections of the court, with up to 2 other players rotating in and out as required. All activities are subject to strict social distancing and those players not on court must always maintain a clear 2m distance from others.
  • High Performance / Professional Players are permitted to continue to train both indoors and outdoors.

High Performance is defined as covering those who are:

  • Professional sports people and those who participate within professional competition
  • A member of a high-performance team funded by Tennis Ireland e.g. Davis and Fed Cup, Team Ireland programme recipients
  • Those who compete at major international events including European and World Champions, Olympic and Paralympic Games, Grand Slam, ATP, WTA, ITF Men / Women’s World Tour

Facilities / Clubs

As they are not recognised as essential services, the decision of Government is that all gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools and other sports facilities including Tennis Clubs and courts must close during the Level 5 restrictions. This includes both indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

It is permitted to open sports facilities (including Tennis Clubs) for training by High Performance Players.

It will also be permitted to open outdoor courts for structured training sessions by school aged children, i.e. those aged 18 years and younger, as per the recommended pod system. This must be conducted under the supervision of designated coaches and in compliance with approved COVID-19 protocols and all relevant public health guidance.

During these training sessions it will only be permitted for participants and relevant coaching and support personnel to be present.

In the case of children’s sport, parents will be permitted to attend for child safeguarding purposes, however, they will be required to comply with social distancing and other public health advice.

Tennis Ireland understands the disappointment and difficulties that the government instructions will pose for players, coaches, club volunteers and staff but the challenge caused by COVID-19 impacts across all sectors of society and sport and we need a nationwide effort to fight it.

We are asking that clubs implement the above measures in order to help safeguard staff and members. This will allow our juniors to continue to train safely and will protect our communities while the threat of COVID-19 exists.

Tennis Ireland will issue more detailed guidance to its member clubs directly tomorrow.