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Clubs wait on Covid-19 policy details

Sport

ISSUES Mayo GAA Bord na nÓg chairman Daithi Gallagher.

Mike Finnerty

THE chairman of Mayo GAA Bord na nÓg, Daithi Gallagher, says ‘there are a lot of issues to be ironed out with Croke Park and Connacht GAA before we can give any concrete guidelines to clubs’ in relation to Covid-19 policies and protocols.
But he is keen to stress that ‘as soon as we have that certainty we will be liaising with clubs’.
GAA teams all across the country are due to return to their own grounds for non-contact training in two weeks’ time, but there has been no further specific information or update from Croke Park since they released their ‘Safe Return To Gaelic Games’ guidelines over a week ago.
It is understood that GAA officials at national level will be issuing a more detailed update to clubs this week in relation to the Covid supervisor role, what supports individual clubs can expect to get from their respective County Boards, and the online training that is due to be rolled out by GAA HQ.
“The ‘Safe Return to Play’ document provides with us a roadmap for getting back to football, that’s the priority,” Daithi Gallagher told The Mayo News. “There’s a lot of tedious, administrative structures we’re going to have put in place now to give clubs that guidance. And we will be working with them on that, there’s no doubt about it.
“Take the Covid supervisor role,” he added. “We don’t exactly know what the responsibilities of that role are. We know that they’re going to have to be responsible for the health risk assessments, and they will be responsible for recording attendance at games.
“We know there’s going to be parental permissions necessary for training and matches; we don’t know if we can get one parental permission for that, or if it has to be for each game.
“We don’t know if the Covid supervisor is going to be responsible for that.
“As well as that, we have issues around the sharing of team names and team lists, if a case [of Covid-19] does arise down the road. So there are a lot of issues to be ironed out with Croke Park and Connacht GAA before we can give any concrete guidelines to clubs.
“As soon as we have that certainty we will be liaising with clubs.
“We’ve been going back and forth with Connacht GAA, and any issues we have raised with them they have raised with Croke Park,” added the Castlebar Mitchels clubman.
“So we’re in this period of limbo at the moment and have a lot of figuring out to do.
“I’m sure there’s a little bit of frustration with clubs because they’re trying to make provisions to put in place the necessary structures as outlined in that document.
“We’re delighted to get back to football, and these nitty gritty bits will be solved in the next four to six weeks before we get back to competition.”
The Mayo News spoke to a number of Mayo GAA club officials and underage coaches last week who said they were ‘worried’ and ‘concerned’ about the lack of specific information in the GAA’s 15-page document which was released last week.
A number of them also highlighted the ‘significant amount of extra responsibility’ that returning to training and matches in the current climate was set to bring.
In response, Daithi Gallagher said: “First and foremost, we have to take a little bit of comfort that these guidelines published were compiled in conjunction with both Governments on the island of Ireland and all national medical agencies. So we are getting the best advice in terms of the structures that need to be put in place.
“GAA clubs’ response to this pandemic initially was overwhelming.
“While there will be responsibilities, and difficult administrative structures to put in place, I think every club is confident they’ll put in the necessary structures to ensure that we get football for underage players.
“The priority is the health and wellbeing of all our players and the wider GAA community.
“The priority is to get back to football and a bit of normality. I think the clubs will relish that.”

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