10th July 2020 – Hours before the Government’s announcement on the return of team sport and the re-opening of indoor facilities, Volleyball England received notification from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that it supported our plans for the return of 2v2 volleyball outdoors.
Making it a trio of positive announcements within 24 hours, it means that 2v2 beach and grass gameplay can recommence immediately if the following mitigating measures are implemented for the ‘one-metre-plus’ approach:
- Social distancing (two metres) to be maintained at all times when the ball is not in play and when participants are off court. This means no handshakes or congratulatory touches.
- Practise to be structured in such a way that close contact is reduced where possible.
- Good hygiene is followed to ensure that hands are sanitised and balls disinfected during breaks and that hands, volleyballs and other pieces of equipment are thoroughly cleaned before and after gameplay.
This only applies for 2v2 volleyball outdoors. People from different households may meet in groups of up to six people, but 3v3 gameplay cannot take place. This advice is subject to change.
Our ‘Return to Volleyball’ working group recently met to discuss emerging research that revealed the small amount of time, on average, most players spend within one metre of a fellow players on a beach court during a 2v2 game.
Additionally, for those minutes that athletes spend within one metre of another player, they are typically facing away or are actively trying to move away from each other to protect more of the court. We therefore think that the risk is incredibly small and that it is safe for normal 2v2 practise to recommence.
Please note we are not yet in a position to endorse the return of 2v2 tournaments.
The comeback is on
Sue Storey, Chief Executive of Volleyball England, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve finally been able to achieve this milestone.
“The restrictions on all sports, including volleyball, have played an important role in keeping everyone safe. Nevertheless, it has been difficult seeing our sport limited to a low level of activity and I can’t wait to now see the community dust off their kit and get back to playing.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the volunteers in our Return to Volleyball working group for helping us to reach this point. In particular I want to say a huge thanks to Phil Smith, our Beach Volleyball Lead, for bringing the emerging research to our attention and for his tireless work.
“The comeback is well and truly on.”
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