As the government roadmap out of lockdown progresses and the official guidance for grassroots sport is now available, we can now confirm more details of the Return to Play plans for hockey.
England Hockey’s full guidance has been simplified where possible and should be used by Covid Officers and key role holders at clubs and organisations alongside the wider supporting guides for specific roles in hockey as well as the supporting infographics and FAQs. This is all available on the Covid Support page of our website, which will be regularly updated.
The good news is that hockey can return from 29 March straight to the ‘Play – Step 4’ phase of our original Covid-19 roadmap. This allows local hockey to take place including activities like summer leagues or local matches.
We recognise that not all players will be ready to return straight away and we encourage all providers to ensure that their processes, communication and behaviours all contribute to creating places that all players can be comfortable participating within. Further to the briefings held last week England Hockey encourages the focus to be on safe, fun and friendly activity initially to support welcoming people back.
As the roadmap progresses over the coming weeks, restrictions are expected to lift, and the extent of activity clubs can offer will extend. These are mostly related to issues outside of play such as hospitality and changing rooms. As of the 25 March we are still waiting for the government safer travel advice to be updated that will inform on travel issues such as car sharing.
The updated government advice means it is now possible to undertake the following activity. England Hockey expects that all involved in any activity will follow the guidance.
Outdoor hockey can resume from 29 March:
- Training can start once organisers ensure all guidance is in place.
- England Hockey recommends a maximum of 30 people in any one group, but more than one group can use a pitch as long as social distancing can be maintained outside of play and between the groups.
- Matches (both 11-a-side and small sided) can resume once organisers can ensure all guidance is in place. Multiple matches can take place at the same venue as long as social distancing can be maintained between groups outside of matches.
Next steps of the government roadmap
The below table outlines the government roadmap as a guide for coming months. This is indicative of when we expect guidance may be updated to support further changes, but the dates are not confirmed at this stage. As and when further changes to guidance are required, England Hockey will update and reissue our guidance.
|Gov Step 1b
(from 29 March)
|Gov Step 2
(no earlier than 12 April)
|Gov Step 3
(no earlier than 17 May)
|Gov Step 4
(no earlier than 21 June)
|Indoor hockey||Flyerz permitted||Junior (U18) permitted||Adult permitted|
|Changing rooms||Should not be used with the exception of use by disabled participants, for safeguarding purposes or for serious injury requiring emergency treatment||Changing room use to be reviewed|
|Spectators||Are not permitted with the exception of safeguarding purposes (one parent, guardian or carer per child (under 18) or disabled participant)||Spectator permissions to be reviewed|
|Hospitality||May provide takeaway services only||Permitted outdoors||Permitted indoors|
|Travel||Travel for sport is permitted. Awaiting government travel advice on car sharing|
|Clubhouse||Should remain closed to the public, but toilets permitted to be open from 30 minutes before activity, until 30 minutes after activity||Clubhouse use to be reviewed|
England Hockey will continue to follow government and Public Health England advice. Timings of any changes to the circumstances for hockey will always be led by government advice during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Whilst these are now significant steps forward in terms of returning to play, we would encourage everyone to firstly consider the health of themselves and others as they return to play.