The IRFU guidelines in line with Government policy outlines the there should be no spectators at sporting events. See 3.6 Permitted attendees/participants:
IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines were issued on June 5th to map out a safe
resumption of activity ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Included were guidelines for events covering the following areas:
• Appointment of an event specific COVID-19 Safety Officer
• Travel to/from club event
• Check-in (registration) Process/Pre-Event
• Social distancing behaviours
Click here for IRFU Guidelines For Events (Adult Based)
Click here for IRFU Guidelines For Events (Children & Youth Based)
In addition to the above guidelines, the COVID-19 Match Management Guidelines
outlined in this document apply to club and schools and third-level rugby at all levels
Where a club is in any doubt, government and public health authority guidelines
supersede IRFU guidelines at all times.
2. Current Government Guidelines
As of August 20th 2020, the latest government guidelines in relation to outdoor
gatherings are as follows:
Government of Ireland: Sporting events and matches can continue to take place
behind closed doors with:
Strict avoidance of gatherings, including social gatherings, before or after events;
Strict adherence to 2 metre physical distancing before and after events, during
breaks in play, on the sidelines and avoidance of team huddles.
Competitions, events and tournaments planned up to September 13th 2020 should
go ahead as planned with strict public health measures and protocols in place.
Northern Ireland Executive: Sporting events are exempt from Coronavirus Health
Regulations which currently limit outdoor gatherings to 15 people.
This is only permissible where a risk assessment is carried out and necessary
measures are put in place including adherence to social distancing and hygiene
All clubs are expected to meet these conditions in implementing their COVID-19
Club Health & Safety Plan (inc. Risk Assessment).
3. Match Operating Procedures – Key Recommendations
All events, including matches, must adhere to government and IRFU guidelines.
The home team should appoint an officer to oversee compliance and ensure the
following measures are in place on match day:
• The latest government guidelines are being adhered to
• The away team and match officials are given a short briefing outlining the
specific COVID-19 health & safety measures in place in the club
• The away team’s COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer is assisted in
implementing their own health & safety measures
• Match officials present a completed Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment
Declaration (screen shot)
The home team’s officer may be their COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer, the
COVID-19 Club Safety Officer or another appointed member of the club’s COVID-19
Health & Safety Committee.
A list of additional duties are available in the COVID-19 Safety Officer section of the
IRFU’s Guidelines For Events.
3.2 Personal Assessment Declaration:
Before attending, all home team and away team personnel must fill out a pre-rugby
personal assessment declaration to be verified by their attending COVID-19 Club
The away team officer should confirm to the home team officer that all away team
personnel are compliant.
Match officials will have completed their Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment
Declaration in advance and are expected to present confirmation to the home team’s
COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer.
All match day personnel must also complete a Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment
Declaration Form prior to arriving on site as per the COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan
Template (inc. Risk Assessment).
Click here for Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration
3.3 Travel To/Arrival At The Venue
Players should only travel alone to rugby or with members of the same household.
1Where a vehicle must be shared, you should open the windows to create
ventilation. Do not use the ventilation recirculation setting.
Keep seating as far apart as possible to maintain social distancing of 2 metres.
Attendees should arrive at the club no more than 5 minutes before the beginning of
All attendees (players/coaches etc.) must arrive in kit and only change
footwear/jersey at the club.
All attendees must sanitise their hands prior to going on pitch at the club.
Clubs should enforce one-way systems around the club both in the car park, and
common walking areas, with regular visuals of a 2metre social distance.
3.4 Match Facilities
Hand sanitiser should be available to all.
Changing rooms and shower facilities should remain closed.
Any necessary team meetings/briefings should be conducted on-pitch with physical
distancing in place.
Home team, away team and match officials should be zoned on pitch for warm up.
Due to the need for “strict avoidance of gatherings…after events,” clubs under the
jurisdiction of the Government of Ireland should not convene for post-match meals at
Clubs under the jurisdiction of the Northern Ireland Executive must abide by
Coronavirus Health Regulations
3.5. Match protocols
Team members must refrain from:
• High Fives
1 HSE Safety In The Workplace
• Spitting or clearing of nostrils on
pitch or grounds
• Post-match ‘tunnel’
3.6 Permitted attendees/participants:
As per current guidelines, a behind closed doors event can include: ‘Any individual
involved in the participation, running, delivery, and broadcasting (if relevant) of the
For the purposes of rugby matches this can include:
• Team personnel to a maximum of 40 people per team including: Players as
per team sheet, Head Coach, Director of Rugby, Assistant Coach(es), Team
Manager, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Video Analyst, Medical Personnel,
Baggage Master, Water Carrier
• Match officials can include referee, touch judges, 4th official and referee
• Match management officer
• COVID-19 Club Safety Officer & Compliance Officer(s)
• COVID-19 Health & Safety Committee members
• Pre-approved media personnel
Club members, committee members and officers not deemed necessary for the safe
running of the event should not attend.
As per current government guidelines, no spectators should attend these events.
Parents/Guardians attending in a safeguarding /supervisory capacity are not
classified as a spectator however strict social distancing and public health guidelines
should be adhered to at all times.
In that context, one parent/guardian per child is permitted to attend at a sporting
event, including a game or training session, should they consider it necessary.
All Parents/Guardians attending must complete either a Pre-Rugby Personal
Assessment Declaration Form or a health declaration prior to arriving on site.
3.7 Departure From The Club
In accordance with government guidelines, both teams are asked to depart the club
immediately after the warm down at full-time. No meetings or gatherings should take
3.8 Concurrent Matches:
Clubs are asked to minimise the amount of matches taking place in the club at the
same time and to stagger kick-off times.
The IRFU is asking Clubs to refrain from the staging of blitz events for mini rugby
before September 13th.
This to minimise the need for a high volume of coaches/parent/guardians/officials to
Further guidelines will be issued along with mini rugby guidelines for the 2020/21