GAA in England set for 29 March return to full contact training with competitive fixtures to begin from 17 April
By Damian Dolan
GAA activities in England are set to resume from next Monday after the Gaelic Games Council of Britain (GGCB) gave the green light to its members.
As part of the GGCB’s road map for a safe return of Gaelic Games, full contact training can commence in England from 29 March, in line with Phase 4.
Competitive Fixtures (Phase 5) in England can commence from 17 April.
The GGCB comprises the Provincial Council of Britain, Britain LGFA and Britain Camogie.
The move to phases 4 and 5 is subject to Government and Local Authority regulations and adherence to Covid Safe facilities plans.
Scotland has been at Phase 3 (Non-Contact Training) since 19 March and will remain at that stage until 17 May.
When Scotland moves to Phase 5 (Competitive Fixtures) it will be subject to the same conditions, the GGCB said in its statement which was sent out on Sunday.
The GGCB added that it was “thought” that clubs in Wales “may” move to Phase 5 on 22 April.
In Northern Ireland, club training for adult and youth GAA players will resume on 12 April in pods of 15 or less.
In the Republic of Ireland, inter-county teams are currently waiting to learn whether they will be able resume training from 5 April, after the GAA lost its Elite status. The club scene is due to begin later in the year.
Gaelic Games in Britain was given Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary (DCMS) approval last year.
DCMS approved the official submission of the Gaelic Games Council of Britain (GGCB) for a return to play on Monday (24 August).
The UK Government announced on 22 February that amateur sports would be free to resume from 29 March.
It stated that from 29 March, organised adult and children’s outdoor sports, including grassroots football, golf and tennis, would be allowed to resume.
The move was part of UK Prime minister Boris Johnson’s four-step plan to release England from its third national lockdown, which came into effect on 5 January.
Under step three, which will happen no earlier than 17 May, up to 10,000 people will be permitted into the largest outdoor seated venues, such as football or rugby grounds.
The limit will be 4,000 people or half capacity, whichever is lower, at smaller indoor or outdoor venues.