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Basketball Ireland outline return plans, urge government to engage

Basketball Ireland is hoping for a return to action by early February. 

The sport's governing body has previously claimed they have been ignored by the Irish government.

Despite the regression to level-3 COVID-19 restrictions, and the re-opening of gyms, indoor sports training remains off-limits unless on an individual basis.

Basketball is not currently viewed as an elite sport by the government, and so remains on ice.

Basketball Ireland say they are now targeting a resumption of competitive matches by the end of February or St. Patrick's Day. A formal proposal is to be submitted to Sport Ireland.

Ireland U20 coach Martin Conroy told OTB AM on Thursday, "We have facilities now that are good enough, with proper ventilation, so that we are able to play safely and able to run pods.

"We are able to run pods of six and get past that. That is basically where I would stand on that. It is just about us getting back to practicing."

Basketball Ireland have issued a six-point exit plan:

  • Basketball Ireland is working on a written plan within the next week for a 'Return to Training', starting with elite level (National League and international Squads) and progressing to club and schools, leading on to a 'Return to Play' in competition/games.
  • This plan will be submitted to Sport Ireland for observation and review.
  • The plan will be submitted to Government immediately thereafter, before Christmas.
  • Depending on the Covid-19 numbers over Christmas, the plan will be a structured return to training for international teams and National League teams in second half of January/early February with a target to play games from end of February/St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Local leagues to return to training to larger indoor pods from February 1st, and possibly be in a position to play games and participate in inter-county and All-Ireland’s.
  • The Cup competitions will be discussed and a plan for their go-ahead will also be considered.

Basketball Ireland CEO, Bernard O’Byrne, said, "For this plan to become reality it is of utmost importance that our players and clubs continue to be vigilant and put safety first.

"It will also depend on Government listening to our voice and showing some solidarity with the tens of thousands of people who need a return to sport physically, emotionally and for well-being of their mental health."

Basketball Exclusion | Martin Conroy on basketball’s ongoing stoppage

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