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NCU Club Update - Return to Sport - 28th May 21


Links below are guidance on the use of changing facilities and spectator capacity.

Covid Guidance - Spectator Capacity at Smaller Venues


Current Position – NI Executive Regulations
The NI Executive confirmed on 20th May 2021 further easing of restrictions in relation to sport in Northern Ireland. Changes effective from 24th May mean the full return of outdoor sport.

As a result of the most recent NI Executive announcement the Northern Cricket Union is providing the following guidance as a reminder to our clubs in Northern Ireland.

Return to Play Protocols
The COVID-19 Return to Play Protocols (RTPP) Club Guide issued on Friday 30th April 2021 is still the document clubs are asked to comply with. 

Updated RTPP documents for clubs will be issued shortly in preparation for the transition to longer formats of cricket, which is due to occur on 12th June in NI. 

However, in advance of revised documents being issued, some key items are outlined below as guidelines and reminders to clubs and to assist with your safe management of cricket games.

General Reminder of Club Responsibility

It is pleasing to see outdoor sport, such as cricket, has resumed and our competitions are now underway.  Visible compliance from all of us is needed to maintain the safety of participants, as well as play our part in supporting the further easing of restrictions for outdoor sport in due course.

It is also essential that both the NI Executive and Cricket Ireland Return to Train and Return to Play protocols are observed. Clubs are reminded that they should:

  • Refresh risk assessments/action plans to comply with changes in restrictions.
  • Continue to promote HANDS-FACE-SPACE messaging via signs.
  • Continue to keep records for contract tracing, including spectators.

Managing Changing Facilities
Executive Guidelines now permit the use of changing facilities for sport in NI.  Guidance is provided to support clubs to safely manage the use of changing facilities.  Please see the attached document issued by the NI Executive Guiding Principles Restricted Access and Safe Use of Changing and Shower Facilities

Managing Spectators

With spectators now permitted to watch sporting fixtures this is good news for our sport.  However, guidance has also been issued by the NI Executive and Sport NI on the requirement to manage spectator capacity within sporting venues. 
Linked above is a guidance note (COVID 19 SPECTATOR CAPACITY AT SMALL SPORTS VENUES) issued by SNI, that clubs should use when calculating the safe number of spectators permitted to their venues.

The process to calculate spectators at cricket grounds without permanent seating is summarised below:
On a flat surface with no terracing or seats the capacity is calculated using the recommended 2m physical distance between 2 persons with an additional 0.6m allowed for the width of each person (including movement). This gives an area of 2.6 x 2.6 for each person = 6.76sqm.

For example: a standard club cricket ground using this formula equates to 130 spectators.
Please also note this number does not include the essential personnel list contained in the RTTP, which should be maintained separately from your spectator numbers.

Spectator Contact Tracing
Cricket clubs are still required to collect and maintain records of the contact details of visitors, customers, and staff in accordance with NI Executive Regulations. 
However, this may not apply to all facilities.  For example, outdoor cricket facilities in public parks / places where it is not possible or practical to collect information from all spectators.  If a club is using a facility is based in an open park / space, then the following guidance should be followed as an example:

  • A cricket club in a public open space will not be required to 'patrol' the boundary collecting the contact details of everybody walking through the park and stopping to watch the cricket but should continue to collect contact details of any person on site interacting with the clubhouse area, any seating areas provided by the club or interacting with any other club owned and/or operated facility.
  • It is recommended clear demarcation is created to keep players and members of the public separate.

Guidance on Car Sharing
Please continue to follow Executive guidance and avoid car sharing if possible. If you have to car share, please follow these simple steps, as advised by the NI Executive:

  • Wash hands or use sanitiser before and after journey.
  • Wear face coverings.
  • Share with the same small group only.
  • Keep windows open.
  • Sit as far away as possible.
  • Clean car surfaces after every journey (including seatbelts and internal/external handles).

Clubs with bars and restaurants
Those clubs with bars and restaurants should ensure that continue to comply with the legislative requirements, including licensing laws, relating to the hospitality sector for the ongoing management of the relevant facilities.  Where clubs have a franchisee running those operations the franchisee is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements relating to the hospitality sector in NI.

Regulations relating to the hospitality sector are published on the NI Direct website

Summary of the regulations outlined below:

Hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in members' clubs) are permitted to open.

A maximum of six people can be seated together. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household, if it is not more than 10. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total.

Venues will also be required to collect customer details to help with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme.
Customer details will include the:

  • name and telephone number of each visitor over the age of 16
  • date and time of arrival

Face coverings must be worn if you leave your table (to pay/ to access toilet facilities), unless exempt.

There must be no live music or dancing. Ambient music should be at a level that permits normal conversation.

A person responsible for a hospitality business must take reasonable measures to ensure that social distancing measures are maintained at all times to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

Further information
Further guidance and support documents are also available from the following links: