The Gaelic Games Council of Britain says its plan for a safe return to playing has undergone an “initial review” by the UK Government, and that it is “hopeful of a favourable outcome”.
In a statement released on 8 August, the Council confirmed that it has engaged a “specialist consultant” to assist it with the Government’s Return to Recreational Sport Framework application process.
“Subject to a couple of matters being addressed we are hopeful of a favourable outcome,” the Council said.
“Clearly the Government Department is dealing with all the sporting bodies in Britain so we cannot predict the timescale, however, we will, with our consultant, continue to expedite the outcome and address any inquiries immediately on receipt.”
The GAA in Britain remains at Phase 3 of its “Road Map” for a Safe Return to GAA activity.
Phase Stage 3 includes: (i) Adhering to limits on outdoor gatherings permitted by the relevant national legislation – at present that number is 30 in England and Wales, and 50 in Scotland, (ii) Non-contact, respecting social distance, activities/training and (iii) Sharing of equipment to be minimised and risk managed.
Sanction from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is required before a progression to Phase 4 – the resumption of all forms of team and group training, and of club competitions (national governments permitting).
The Council added its thanks to those “adhering to the current stage guidance in the three jurisdictions” of England, Wales and Scotland.
“Your co-operation and commitment to our games is greatly appreciated,” it said.
“The hard work of the County Covid-19 Supervisors as well as Jen Tracey, Jen Noone and Ann McGivern the Provincial Covid-19 Supervisors, has been tremendous and greatly assisting us in the overall process.
“A further statement will be released once we have further news on when we can move to Phase 4 along with updated guidance.”
The Gaelic Games Council of Britain is made up of the three GAA organisations in Britain; Provincial Council of Britain, Camogie Britain and Ladies Gaelic Football Association.
Further optimism for the GAA in Britain will come from the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) announcement last week that the DCMS has approved a plan for the return of grassroots rugby in England.
The next phase involves “enabling two teams of up to 10 players” to play on a non-contact basis “in their own club environment” during August. This could lead to matches between different clubs in September.
There is no indication, though, when 15-a-side full-contact rugby can resume.
GAA matches in Ireland recommenced on 17 July, but there was a set-back on 7 August with GAA fixtures in Kildare, Laois and Offaly suspended for14 days, in line with the Irish Government’s regional restrictions in those three counties to control the spread of Covid-19.