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Sport Australia Releases Return To Sport Toolkit For Community Sport

Sport Australia has released the Return to Sport Toolkit, a suite of practical resources that focus on giving community sporting clubs and associations a roadmap for the safest return to sport at all levels.

The toolkit was developed in partnership with Hockey Australia, and comes with comprehensive checklists, adaptable COVID-19 safety plans and templates for every level of community sport.

Some of the notable recommendations in the Toolkit include the limit of one guardian per athlete to attend training and games, no handshakes, high-fives or team huddles, and the sanitation of all balls/equipment during stoppages in play.

Sport Australia acting CEO, Rob Dalton, said the Return to Sport Toolkit is primarily aimed at supporting the safe resumption of community sport, but the ultimate decision on when community sport will return will be made at a state level.

The main thing I want to emphasise to all sport and participants is that public health is the most important consideration, advice from your government health authorities is paramount.

I urge all sporting participants not to jump the starting gun without first the consent of your relevant state and territory government health authorities.

Australia’s sporting community is desperately keen to get back in the game and resume playing the sports they love, but we need to ensure that is done in a safe, responsible and low risk manner so that we can keep moving forward towards the full resumption of sport.

The Toolkit works through four stages of return to sport: Prevent, Prepare, Respond and Recover.

In the Prevent stage, it concentrates on steps like getting your COVID-19 Safety Plan in place and communication that with members.

Practical steps in the Prepare stage are looking at safe facility practises, like hand-sanitisers, attendance registers at training and limiting shared equipment as much as possible.

Sports also need to be prepared for illness management, noting things can change quickly in your local area, which is covered by the Respond and Recover stages.

We thank the National Sporting Organisations for their input into this Toolkit, in particular Hockey Australia, and are confident sports will welcome it.

But to help your sport return, Sport Australia also calls on everyone involved, participants, coaches, officials, administrators, volunteers, families, and the broader community, to take individual responsibility and respect the health of all those around you.

We know this is a tough time for sport and all Australians.

But if we can each commit to getting through this challenging period together, we have every confidence sport will play a prominent role in lifting the nation’s energy and spirits again.

Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, said the return of community sport will not be easy, but the Toolkit will help ensure the health and safety of Australia.

“Sporting clubs and organisations across Australia will play an enormous part in getting the nation back on track as we recover from the impact of COVID-19,” Colbeck said.

“The safe return of competition relies on a responsible rollout where everybody follows advice and takes precautions.

“We have a big challenge ahead of us, but together, the National Principles, the AIS framework and Sport Australia’s toolkit offer tangible advice to ensure community sporting groups are prepared to control and deal with the virus in this new era,” he said.