The IRFU are directing rugby clubs not to operate any rugby activity or organised training during Phase 1 of the Government of Ireland’s Roadmap To Reopen Society. The directive also applies to Step 1 of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Coronavirus Recovery Plan.
We must also remember that the Government of Ireland’s roadmap does not permit rugby to resume until stage 5. The preliminary date for that is not until August 10th, 2020. NI Executive guidance also currently states the resumption of rugby will not be permitted until Step 5 of its plan.
The IRFU are looking at protocols which may allow rugby activities in clubs to proceed before that day, but it will not be in Phase 1 or Step 1. In the meantime, we are urging everyone in our community to continue to adhere to public health measures and play their part in minimising the risks associated with COVID-19.
We acknowledge there is an appetite among clubs to facilitate physical activity for their members and the wider community. Rugby clubs play a vital role in the wider community as amenities for physical and mental wellbeing.
Many field-sports facilities are also used as walking tracks and some clubs may wish to facilitate such activities. Clubs must ensure that any such activity adheres strictly to government measures in place.
The IRFU have also welcomed the establishment of a Return to Sport Expert Group under the auspices of the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Republic of Ireland. The same principle is being sought to be convened in Northern Ireland.
As reported on May 16th, IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin has been appointed to the group. The Return to Sport Expert Group will guide Ireland’s sporting bodies to prepare for the phased return to sporting activity. The group will be assessing planned protocols being prepared by National Governing Bodies, including Irish Rugby.
Irish Rugby remains committed to a safe and responsible return to rugby activity in the community.
This message was issued to Club Honorary Secretaries on Monday May 18th, 2020.