England Hockey have published their latest update on getting hockey back on the pitch. This is summerised below:
There is a five-step plan to return to ‘normal’:
|Step 1: Training|
One-to-one / household group
|Step 2: Socially Distanced Training|
Small groups but with social distancing in place
|Step 3: Small Group Training|
Small group training allowed with some closer contact allowed. Allowing for tackling/marking etc. (some age groups may be allowed to start this stage earlier)
|Step 4: Local Match Play|
Intra club / local matches can happen but restrictions prevent leagues / main competitions resuming (e.g. if travel is still an issue due to car sharing or local lockdowns are in place)
|Step 5: Full Competitive Match Play|
Full leagues / competitions resume
Since 21st May, we have been at Step 1, with a view to moving to the initial stages of Step 2 on 1st June.
The pace and progression through the next steps cannot be determined. There are four options available:
|Option A – Normal||Season runs normally from September 2020 to April 2021. League fixtures as usual. Adjustments made to league and competition structuring and regulations to cater for managing potential disruption including incomplete season.|
|Option B – Delayed (similar calendar)||Season runs normally but starts later and finishes later than usual, for example the end of October to end of April. Adjustments made to league and competition structuring and calendar depending on time lost. Regulations adjusted to cope with disruption including incomplete season.|
|Option C – Revised (new calendar)||A significantly revised calendar is created for season running in a reduced window – e.g. end November 2020 to end of April 2021. Some activities may be removed in this scenario depending on the circumstances. |
Alternative formats for competitions and leagues will be developed including potentially splitting leagues in the latter part of the season to create playoffs.
Consultation on this approach will be undertaken in coming months with this scenario only implemented if there is confidence the timing will allow.
|Option D – Shortened||The season runs in a severely reduced window – e.g. end January 2021 to end of April 2021. |
In this scenario in adult leagues it could be that all play all but only once either home or away.
The Kent Hockey Association (as well as the East and South Leagues) are planning for Option A.
We are planning on starting the Kent Ladies League on 12th September, and the Kent Men’s League on 26th September (divisions with fewer than teams 11 teams may start a week later).
If, for example, we are unable to play until the first week of October, certain weeks of fixtures may be moved as a block to alternative weeks, either in slip dates, immediately before Christmas, or at the very end of the season.
We will post updates over the coming months, once Government and England Hockey guidance is announced.
In the meantime, stay safe.