Return To Play Statement: June 19th 2020

The EFA - in common with all sports - is constantly monitoring the latest advice around returning to play and seeing how it can best be applied to Eton Fives. Below is the current advice from the EFA, which will be updated as and when there is any further news to report.

Overarching principle:

The main priority is the health of all players, coaches and organisers of the game.

In our decision making we are guided by:

  • Regulation from Government / Public Health England
  • Any additional guidance that is offered by Sport England and the Sport and Recreational Alliance but that does not contravene Government / Public Health England regulation.
  • Common Sense. (Again this can never overrule government regulation)

Clubs based in schools will also have to follow any separate individual regulations established by the school.

If you have any doubts, then club secretaries should contact their insurers.

Other observations

  • There may be differences in the advice given to those who are in all other ways fit and healthy and advice given to those who may have additional health issues or of an age to put them in a higher risk category.
  • There may be differences in our ability to use courts that are deemed to be inside (fully enclosed) as compared to those which may be categorised as outside (roofed or unroofed courts that are otherwise open to the elements.)

General Points

  • Current social distancing laws prevent the return to competitive fives for groups of people from separate households.
  • This would not change if there was a reduction in distancing regulation from 2 meters to one metre.
  • Until social distancing regulations are abandoned it is unlikely that that there could be a return to competitive fives for people from mixed households.
  • A group of four people from the same household could play competitive fives. This would include a group of boarders in the same house once they have quarantined on their return to school.

This does not mean that we cannot use the courts in any way, however.

It will be good to practise and practice games can be created with one, two, three or even four players on court as long as their individual areas on court are clearly demarcated.

You are reminded that any organised practices must also observe government regulation current at the time on access, use of facilities, waiting areas, cleansing / sanitising and social distancing.

Going forward

Whilst an initial reading of the above does not look encouraging, we must remember that that the situation along with government regulation is changing regularly and far more quickly than we might have envisaged even just a few weeks ago. As we write in mid-June a return to play for start of the scheduled season in September does still seem unlikely – but we should not rule it out.

We should look at establishing ‘bubbles’ in practice fives. It may be that established social bubbles will be allowed to drop social distancing regulations before groups outside bubbles. This is of course speculation.

Finally, a reminder that as and when the return to competitive fives is allowed by government regulation anyone who feels uncomfortable and unsafe should in no way feel pressured to play.

CJD

Chris Davies

Chair EFA