Return to Play: Updated Frequently Asked Questions

Investec Girls' Schools Championships
See below answers to the most frequently asked questions 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. This update focuses on the new Local Restriction Tiers announced by government.

Q: When do the new Local Restriction Tiers come into effect?
A: The new Local Restriction Tiers will replace the current national lockdown on Wednesday 2 December. Any permitted hockey activity relating to other questions is allowed from then.

Q: How do the new Local Restriction Tiers affect hockey?
A: Hockey is still permitted in all parts of the country. However, there might be some slight differences depending on where you live and what tier that area is in - particularly in Tier 3 areas and now relating to travel arrangements for Tier 2 with shared cars. Please refer to our quick guide on what is permitted within each alert level here.

Q: How are areas defined under the new Local Restriction Tiers?
A: The list of areas which fall under each Local Restriction Tier can be found on the Government website here. To find out which area you are in, use the Government postcode lookup tool here.

Q: Can we still travel to play hockey as a result of the new Local Restriction Tiers?
A: Yes. However, there are some restrictions in place. Do not travel into or out of a Tier 3 area (see below for exemptions). If you live in a Tier 3 or Tier 2 area aim to travel within your household group or support bubble and follow the government safer travel guidance. If you live in a Tier 1 area follow the government safer travel guidance. You may travel through a Tier 3 area. Government safer travel guidance here.

Q: My club is based in a Tier 3 area, what does this mean for us?
A: Any club in a Tier 3 area can continue to play hockey. However, for adults, it can only be intra club activity or local matches against teams within the same Tier 3 area. This includes friendlies and competitive league matches. There is exemption for U18’s and disability groups that can travel outside of their Tier 3 area to play.

Q: I live in a Tier 3 area but my club is in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area (or vice versa). Can I still train or play with my club?
A: You are advised not to travel into or out of a Tier 3 area and therefore should not attend in these instances. There is exemption for U18’s and disability groups that can travel outside of their Tier 3 area to play. We encourage clubs to accept players that cannot access their usual club activity.

Q: Can we travel from one Tier 3 area to another and what if Tier 3 areas start to merge and become one large area made up of multiple areas?
A: You should not travel between neighbouring Tier 3 areas, even if they share a border. Each Tier 3 area is seen as separate, they are not one continuous area.

Q: Can we travel in or out of Wales to participate in hockey activity?
A: From 6pm on Friday 4 December, travel between Wales and Tier 1 and 2 areas in England will be permitted. This includes travel for sport. England's safer travel guidance applies to all journeys in or out of England.

Q: Can teams in Tier 3 areas hire facilities in a Tier 2 area and play matches using the Tier 2 area facilities?
A: Yes, so long as everyone involved in any activity is from a Tier 2 area. Those from a Tier 3 area should not travel outside of the area and should not participate in activity that has been moved and rearranged in a Tier 2 area. Some exemptions apply, see below.

Q: We are thinking of forming a ‘Nomad’ team – how do we ensure they are appropriately affiliated/insured? (Nomad teams were established in the North West earlier in the season and is a team that effectively plays away from the normal club venue, usually in a different tier, with players from a variety of clubs)
A: All clubs and organisations should be affiliated to England Hockey. Nomad teams can replace another club team in your affiliation to England Hockey if that team isn’t playing. The Nomad team should be clearly aligned to an affiliated club and all players (even if temporary members) registered with that club with participation agreements in place. The usual risk assessments should also be undertaken for the ‘home’ venue and the team insured appropriately.

Q: Do clubs/organisations need to hold emergency contact details, medical information etc. for ‘temporary’ players joining from other clubs during this time? 

A: Yes – it is important that clubs/organisations hold medical information, emergency contact details etc for anyone who plays hockey for their club/organisation, regardless of whether that player is a full-time member or is being hosted during the current circumstances.  All data should be stored in line with GDPR and the club/organisation’s data storage policy. 

Q: Are there any exemptions allowing travel for sport into or out of a Tier 3 area?
A: There is an exemption to travel restrictions for under 18s activity (this includes young people who were 17 at the start of the academic year, even if they turn 18 during the remainder of that year) and disability sport. These groups can travel into or out of a Tier 3 area for supervised sport. Parents are likely to be required to provide transport for this and it is recommended that people only travel in household groups or support bubbles when they are coming from a Tier 3 area. The exemption does not cover under 18s playing in adult activity – only under 18s activity.
Volunteers and officials must follow participant guidance for the relevant tiers. They are only exempt from travel restrictions if they are required to facilitate exempt activity (under 18s activity and disability sport).
Paid coaches with a contract of employment are also exempt from travel restrictions in and out of Tier 3 areas.

Q: Can under 18s teams play each other if one is from a Tier 3 area and another from Tier 1 or Tier 2 area?
A: Due to the travel exemption under 18s teams are permitted to play each other, even if one of the teams is from a Tier 3 area. England Hockey recommends that both teams must be comfortable with playing the fixture before it goes ahead. Teams must communicate accordingly in advance to understand their oppositions position and feeling with regards to the fixture. If the teams do not agree to play and are uncomfortable with a competitive fixture going ahead, they should contact the competition administrator to resolve the outcome of the match.

Q: What if the team we are playing or an individual is from a different Local Restriction Tier area, but travel is permitted?
A: You should always follow the protocols of the team based in the highest Local Restriction Tier area. If as an individual you reside in a different Local Restriction Tier area than where you are going to play hockey, you should follow the protocols of which ever Local Restriction Tier area is highest.

Q: How do the Local Restriction Tiers impact our clubhouses & hospitality?
A: Clubs and facilities with internal spaces have a responsibility to ensure they are compliant with the latest government guidelines for sport facility providers, indoor settings and hospitality venues, here and here.

Q: Are spectators still permitted as a result of the new Local Restriction Tiers?
A: Yes. Spectators are permitted in all Tiers but must adhere to legal gathering limits and following social distancing guidelines relevant to each tier.

Q: What does this mean for adult league hockey?
The new travel restrictions around car sharing for Tier 2 is likely to have a significant impact on the ability of leagues to continue if clubs cannot make appropriate travel arrangements. Leagues have been encouraged to accommodate matches being played where possible but not obligate teams to play league matches. We are recommending that league matches can be played where both teams agree to play.
Revised arrangements for leagues will be considered over coming weeks.

Q: Can EH Championships fixtures be played?
A: We will communicate a further update with participants directly. Junior Championships are planned to return in January, using mainly existing dates of activity. Adult and Masters Championships are planned to return in late February. With a slight extension to the season it is still possible to complete all Championships in full using these new timelines.
If teams wish to play already drawn fixtures on an agreed date prior to our planned return and can be compliant with EH Return to Play guidance, we would allow this.

Q: Can we play indoor hockey?
A: Yes, but there are different restrictions depending on where in England you live. In Tier 1 areas the rule of 6 applies to any training sessions or matches. In Tier 2 and 3 areas you can only play indoor sport with other members of your household or support bubble, no mixing. Under 18 activity and disability sport is exempt from the gathering limits for indoor sport.