Tennis Ireland had to request the closure of clubs across the country yesterday morning having originally hoped to escape the full impact of the Level 5 lockdown measures.

In the absence of full guidance on Wednesday night as the clock ticked towards midnight, the Board had interpreted the rules so as to allow restricted opening and play to take place between members of the same household, on courts that were managed with the virus in mind.

Tennis had been among the first to return after lockdown 1.0 and had the protocols in place.

You would have had to be quick through the gate though as by mid-morning the Board had issued a further statement.

“Following a communication this morning from Sport Ireland, Tennis Ireland, notwithstanding to its communication yesterday evening, must unfortunately now ask all member Clubs to suspend all activities (including all junior coaching programmes) in the Republic of Ireland with immediate effect.”

“The Department of Sport Expert Group is meeting this morning to finalise Level 5 protocols for sporting organisations and once these protocols have been issued to Tennis Ireland, we will communicate further with member Clubs.”

“Tennis Ireland understands the difficulties and disappointment that this instruction will pose for players, coaches, club volunteers and staff but the challenge caused by COVID-19 impacts across all sectors of society and sport and we need a nationwide effort to fight it. Tennis Ireland will, as it always has done, work closely with Government and Sport Ireland to reopen our sport as soon as possible, even on a restricted basis, in as safe a manner as possible.”

“Tennis Ireland would like to thank Clubs, their members and coaches for the work that has been done over the last number of months in providing much-needed exercise and safe, socially distant enjoyment to communities across Ireland.”

In the absence of that advice, it was a not unreasonable stance originally.

Having asked for permission and not at first being denied, the Board chose to act and beg forgiveness if the permission was then withheld.

That’s what happened and late yesterday evening the full and formal advice came through from Sport Ireland to effectively end any potential confusion.

You can read the full text from Sport Ireland here.

Sport for Business Partners