GAA discourages the use of team buses when travelling to matches
Players have been advised to travel to games and training individually and by car
Games returned to Croke Park on Saturday evening. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The GAA has discouraged the use of buses for team transport. In an updated travel protocol issued to county boards, the association cited the advice of its Covid Advisory Group that when buses are used they must, in conformity with the “Government’s provision for public transport . . . be used to 25 per cent of permitted capacity only”.
This was one of the issues raised by the Gaelic Players Association and considered by the advisory group.
Having been informed of “instances where everyone on a bus has been considered a close contact,” the GAA made the move to address the safety issue for players. In that instance the same group of players should travel on all legs of the journey and form the same pod at the venue for showering and dressingroom purposes.
Protocols have also been stipulated for the use of cars.
“The safest way for players to avoid contracting the virus or being classified as a close contact is to travel individually in cars to games or training.
“Travel in pairs should only be for long distances and again the core principles of a pod of two players should be observed; masks should be worn with one player driving and the other player sitting on the opposite side in the back seat.
“A window on either side should be left open to allow for a constant flow of air through the car on the journey.
“As a general rule, players must not be asked to car pool to training or games.”
Other matters addressed included the need for social distancing during water breaks and post-match situations although as the communiqué states: “There is a broad understanding that Gaelic games are contact sports and it is not possible to maintain social distancing during play.”
Challenge matches are not permitted under the current Level 5 coronavirus restrictions and the training of minor teams has been stood down in the light of underage championships having been halted by the Government.
There is an undertaking to complete both the minor and Under-20 championships as soon as is possible.
There is also reference to the agreement with the Gaelic Players Association that all teams may avail of screening for Covid.
“We will making an optional screening programme available for county teams next week also. This is likely to involve saliva testing with indicative results provided on the night; if a player returns positive indications for the virus as part of screening, he will be referred for a full PCR test. Full details will follow next week.”