BASKETBALL Ireland will allow clubs to begin preseason training from July 20.
Their Return To Play group is confident all areas of the game, including clubs, schools, colleges, academies, international squads and National Leagues, can target normal start dates as in previous seasons. This will be subject to the availability of their normal playing facilities.
All areas of the game will be required to follow the various mandatory protocols, such as sanitising and social distancing, while each club will be required to appoint a Covid-19 Compliance Officer.
The big issue will between here and September, and perhaps beyond, will be access to facilities as many Cork clubs are reliant on schools for training and games.
Neptune Stadium, Parochial Hall, which is a base for Brunell and Blue Demons, and the Fr Mathew's Arena, are exceptions rather than the norm for the clubs in Cork.
From many others, from Bantry in West Cork to Youghal in the East and Ballincollig in between, secondary schools are their primary bases. Right now there is no clarity on a structure for the school year from September, let alone external access.
On a local level, the Cork Ladies Basketball Board officially pulled the unfinished 2019-'20 season last month and announced the league winners. The status of the unfinished boys and men's leagues hasn't been confirmed. One option would be wrap up those campaigns as part of the preseason for 2020-'21.
In the statement from Basketball Ireland’s Return to Sport body, they issued the following guidelines:
"Clubs, players, coaches, parents and guardians are reminded to adhere to the government guidelines and Basketball Ireland protocols, as failure to do so will negate insurance cover and could lead them to being exposed to serious liability in the event of any adverse consequences of their actions.
They can only be run in accordance with Government/ Sport Ireland guidelines.
We envisage that pre-season-training can begin on July 20 but this must be kept under review in the evolving situation and will be changed if Government guidelines change.
We believe that the different areas of the sport – clubs, schools, colleges, academies, international squads and National Leagues can target normal start dates as in previous seasons.
Schools and clubs will have to determine the availability of their normal facilities and inform their local leagues or governing bodies as appropriate.
All areas of the game will have to adopt and enforce sanitising, social distancing protocols as appropriate. Every club will be obliged to appoint a Covid-19 Compliance Officer.
Basketball Ireland has a comprehensive set of guidelines in final edit at the moment. We will issue this directly to all units within the next week.
Sport Ireland will train a Basketball Ireland Covid-19 Compliance Officer who will be the point of contact in Basketball Ireland for all queries.
Basketball Ireland will provide all our units with a short training video for the individual Covid-19 Compliance Officers at unit level which is being produced by Sport Ireland."