Government Set to Announce Full Restriction on Sport

The Government appears set to invoke a ban on all spectators at sporting events as a means of controlling the spread of COVID-19.

At present, the restriction is on 200 people which at a typical GAA match has meant around 100-120 family and friends attending matches.

Sporting bodies including the GAA had been suggesting that a move to allow 500 fans would be a welcome boost in terms of the community and the financial elements of the return to sport.

This will be a major blow to the community aspect in particular.  It is not yet known how the restriction will apply or be enforced for juvenile matches at which parents would generally be on the sideline.

It could be that anyone who attends has to be registered for contact tracing purposes as is currently done, or at least in the protocols for players, coaches and officials.

The reasons behind the reduction will likely include concern over groups of spectators travelling to matches in the same car.  The protocols forbid carrying other teammates but there is a limit to the control a club can exert over non-playing members.

Another issue might arise with a significant number of games across all sports played in public parks with no fenced-off areas.

If the ban is applied only to a certain level of senior club games then it will be manageable.  If it is applied to all games it will be a major issue for clubs up and down the country.

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