Return to Play: This week's Frequently Asked Questions

Back to Hockey
FAQs answered (week ending 25.09.2020)

See below answers to the most frequently asked questions from the past week, to help keep our hockey family up to date with the latest goings on surrounding the Return to Play, Covid-19 and any government updates.

Q: Please can you advise whether we are still allowed to have spectators following the latest Government announcement?
A: If your area is not under any further local restrictions then spectators are permitted. However, you should check venue capacities to make sure spectators can remain socially distanced safely around the venue.

If you are in an area under further local restrictions, you may be advised against having spectators. To check if your area is advising against spectators check the Government local restrictions here and refer to the section titled ‘Team sport and physical activity’. If this is the case only those directly linked to the activity, e.g. a parent of an under 18 player, should attend as a spectator. General public and additional family members should be discouraged from attending and all those in attendance must remain social distanced around the venue.

Q: Are we still allowed to play indoor hockey?
A: Indoor hockey is no longer exempt from the ‘rule of 6’, apart from the following exceptions; Under 18s and organised team sport for disabled people. Please refer to our updated guidance in full here for more details on indoor hockey. England Hockey are currently reviewing the indoor competition programme and whether this will be viable for the 2020/21 season. An announcement will be made in due course.

Q: The venue we play at has asked that all players provide their details for track and trace purposes (home and away teams). Do we have to do this? I thought each team was responsible for their own players only? What if they have the new NHS Covid-19 app QR codes?
A: As a requirement of the Step 4 & 5 Return to Play guidelines, all teams running activity (be it training or matches) must complete an attendance register and return this to England Hockey at track.trace@englandhockey.co.uk. This register should include all participants (players, coaches, umpires but not spectators) that are members of your club. This is still the case and all clubs must continue to comply and return completed attendance registers.

It is now a requirement that all public access venues must support NHS Test & Trace via the NHS Covid-19 app and QR code capabilities. Where venues are complying with NHS Test & Trace all visitors (this includes spectators) should cooperate and register their attendance with the venue (as well as with their club for participants). The easiest way to do this is via the NHS Covid-19 app and the scanning of QR codes. For those who do not download an NHS Covid-19 app (it is not mandatory) or those who cannot, most venues will have an alternative registration method. As the NHS Covid-19 app is anonymous we have no record of who is in attendance, nor do the venue, so they may still request to see a full register of attendees. This is an additional measure to the England Hockey requirement of attendance registers, which allow us to know who is in attendance.

All participants should be wary of where they are leaving kitbags with phones using the NHS Covid-19 app or else this could lead to false results. This is a good reminder that at all times outside of the ball being ‘in-play’, participants should remain socially distanced, including thinking about where you leave kitbags.

The NHS Covid-19 app is a new technology and method for tracing transmission. England Hockey will monitor developments and continue to review our own track and trace processes.

Q: Why are England Hockey still requiring attendance registers from each session/match?
A: The purpose of submitting your registers is to allow England Hockey to support the wider Track and Trace management across the country, allowing us to liaise with NHS as required about numbers of people that have been playing hockey within certain areas of the country (which may be affected by higher levels of Covid outbreaks) and also to allow us to see how many people are actually playing regularly, what pitches are in use, and whether those playing have all signed Participation Agreements. The registers that are being provided are allowing us to play the key governance role in the management of the sport on an ongoing basis to check that organisations are following our protocols to allow us the best possible chance of keeping our sport safe, and also to allow us to keep playing under the government’s enhanced regulations.

Q: We are concerned about the Covid-19 protocols put in place by another club we are going to visit/play against. What can we do?
A: We are aware that there is a lot to do for volunteers to ensure their clubs are ready to Return to Play and be Covid-19 secure. Please be supportive of clubs and work together to raise concerns and share best practice. You should contact opposition club Covid Officers to discuss any concerns you have as they may be easily resolved. If you have real concerns that no action is being taken, please email them to clubs@englandhockey.co.uk.

Q: Can you explain why we are still allowed to play hockey now that the Government has announced alert level 4 when we aren’t allowed to gather elsewhere in groups of more than 6?
A: England Hockey have received approval from DCMS and PHE for hockey to continue as an organised team sport as we have evidenced the low risk that playing hockey poses to individuals. During a game of hockey contact with others is fleeting and ‘contact’ as described by NHS Test & Trace (within 2 metres of someone for 15 minutes) does not happen. England Hockey have evidenced this using GPS data. We have an exemption to play hockey but stress that outside of the ball being ‘in-play’ (e.g. pre-activity, travelling, warm up, post-activity) government guidance on social distancing must be followed.

Q: Can you give some guidance on returning to play after having Covid? If I feel better am I allowed to return or do I need to wait a certain number of days following end of symptoms?
A: If you have tested positive for Covid-19 you should follow Government guidance on self-isolation, here. If you have completed the isolation period and are now symptom free, you may return to hockey. If you are still experiencing symptoms you must continue to self-isolate and not return to hockey until you are symptom free.

To see our full guidance surrounding Steps 4 & 5 of our Return to Play guidelines, please click here.