Return to Play: Your frequently asked questions

Hockey stick
Insurance and Safety

Please can you advise on what is meant by appropriate Insurance?
Regarding your coaching insurance, if you are insured with England Hockey through Howden then your cover will continue to apply, providing you adhere to the Government guidelines and any additional supporting guidance provided by England Hockey to its coaches concerning safety and social distancing. Risk assessments must be carried out and risk management put in place around Covid-19 requirements as these are key to evidencing that the risk is being assessed and managed. This is something that the Government has highlighted must be taking place. It is essential that coaches record and evidence that they are working to and controlling the social distancing measures expected by the Government.

Can you provide a Covid-19 specific risk assessment?
England Hockey advises all clubs to consult the ‘Returning to Play’ guidance and perform their own risk assessment prior to the commencement of hockey activity. As the guidance regarding Covid-19 is ever changing, clubs are advised to regularly assess all activity in line with current government guidelines. A template risk assessment can be found here.

Can you update the H&S guidance so that it takes into account the wider Covid-19 guidance?
England Hockey regularly reviews and updates the Health & Safety guidance provided to clubs through the Safety FAQs. As the government guidance regarding Covid-19 is regularly updated, all H&S updates directly relating to Covid-19 will be included within the ‘Returning to Play’ guidance alongside any additional guidance from the FIH.

What advice are you giving regarding gumshields?
Gumshields are obviously strongly recommended for hockey and participants are encouraged to use them where possible but keep them in for the duration of the session, whilst also adhering to the Covid-19 hygiene advice. As with all other equipment they should be cleaned and disinfected between sessions.

What advice would you give for travelling to games when social distancing is lifted? And what about the use of changing rooms/hospitality facilities at matches?
We are awaiting guidance from government on both these issues. We do not anticipate this to be before Step 3 and/or Step 4 in our roadmap.

Can you give any advice on maintaining pitch hygiene during this time?
There is advice from the FIH on safely returning pitches to play here. The Groundmanship website also has advice here.


What age can young people train without the supervision of the adult?
England Hockey strongly recommends that all hockey activity involving those under the age of 18 is supervised.  In line with EH guidance regarding supervision ratios, the following ratios should be observed:
= Children under 8 years old: one adult to 8 young people (with a minimum of 2 adults)
= Children over 8 years: one adult to twelve young people (with a minimum of 2 adults)
= Please ensure that government guidance regarding social distancing and group sizes is observed.
= Clubs must also ensure that first aid provision is in place before allowing members to take part in hockey activity.

One-to-one coaching of young people
A parent / guardian must be present and the coach following social distance guidelines from the player and parent / guardian. Coaches must hold appropriate insurance. All coaches should closely follow the England Hockey safeguarding advice on one to one coaching as covered in the document here.

Small group coaching of young people
A: At this stage (Step 1 and Step 2 of England Hockey’s Return to Play plans) we strongly encourage parents to remain present during sessions observing the facility rules around social distancing and access.


Can we access pitches?
Ultimately access to pitches is in the hands of the owner / operator of facilities. Many facilities may decide it is not viable to open to support one-to-one coaching sessions or small group sessions or may have wider considerations around the staff provision required to do this. Many schools and leisure centres are also not open yet and may not open until after the school holidays or early July for some leisure centres. If you are having difficulty accessing your facility please email

When will Player Pathway activity start up again?
Once we have announced that hockey activity can start up again Academy Centres and Performance Centres will be delivered on the dates set in the centralised calendar. Depending on the timing of the restart of activity, decisions will be made on the implications for the calendar. If the delay is only minor, dates that are not able to be used will be cancelled and not be rescheduled later in the cycle. Development Centre activity is organised by local county associations and happens in different ways in different places. Please contact your local county administrator to find out when Development Centre activity will take place.

Will there be any changes to affiliation fees if hockey has not been able to return fully come September?
At this stage we have not taken any decisions on any alternative arrangements for next season. For the moment we are planning on next season running normally (or near normally) so we are not currently planning any changes. We will keep the membership informed over coming weeks and aim to make decisions at appropriate times.

Please can you provide some further guidance around League scenarios. I think your suggestions are very good however if the leagues are curtailed or teams cannot or will not complete their fixtures some guidance and regulations may also have to be considered for those teams that may benefit from a curtailed season and not completing their fixtures.
We are collating all possible issues. We will shortly start our planning on how to minimise the impact of these and what regulations and emergency powers are needed to achieve this. We will provide more detail in due course. We have engaged with Regional Leagues and we are endeavouring to provide consistent game wide solutions.

What about the 2019-20 Adult, Masters, U16 and U18 club championships? Is there any news on whether these can be completed?
Teams in the Championships that were postponed from 2019-20 have been contacted and asked about proposals developed for completing the competitions in September 2020. When feedback has been received a decision will be made.

Will you be running Adult Masters and Junior Club Championships in 2020-21?
Currently it is planned to run all Championships in 2020-21 and entries will open shortly. However if we have a delayed, revised or shortened season in line with our Return to Play policy we may revise the dates or formats of some Championships or ultimately not run them depending on the time available within the calendar. We would encourage teams to enter but entry fees will not need to be paid until a competition and format is confirmed so teams may withdraw without penalty, if they feel that circumstances mean that they are unable to compete. This will also be the case for national-entry Schools Championships where some deadlines have now closed.

In the case of another outbreak and certain teams having to self-isolate, will consideration be given to fixtures being missed/re-arranged?
We are working through the scenarios for the season and will issue some recommendations in due course. There are a range of issues like this that will need to be considered and proposed approaches to managing the circumstances developed.