Only one parent to attend games as kids’ sport restarts

Grandparents will be told to stay away from the sidelines and physical barriers will be installed at canteens under new government guidelines for community sport during COVID-19.

Handshakes, high-fives and huddles should also be avoided, according to the new toolkit for local sporting clubs to be unveiled by the federal government's lead sport agency, Sport Australia, today.

Elise Concha (left) and Lucinda Crompton are excited that weekend sport will soon return. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Elise Concha (left) and Lucinda Crompton are excited that weekend sport will soon return. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Under the plan for medium to large organisations, just one parent will be encouraged to attend children's sporting events, and players will be told to shower and change at home to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Scoreboards, balls and dugout benches at sporting ovals will need to be wiped with disinfectant during breaks in play, and drinking taps could be banned.

Clubs will also be asked to appoint a COVID-19 Safety Co-ordinator to liaise with other clubs and peak bodies. The co-ordinator will also have to establish a safety plan and, in the event of an outbreak, justify why certain decisions were taken.
Teams will also be discouraged from taking buses to games and travelling interstate.
While state and territory governments will pick the date for local sport to restart, federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said the Sport Australia toolkit would provide resources for grassroots clubs to ensure a streamlined process.

"The safe return of competition relies on a responsible rollout where everybody follows advice and takes precautions," he said.

"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."

Other suggestions for sporting clubs include installing protective barriers at canteens, staggering arrival times of teams, and ensuring players place their equipment bags 1.5m apart.

Acting Sports Australia chief executive Rob Dalton urged sports clubs not to "jump the starting gun" and resume play without consent.

"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."

Originally published as Only one parent to attend games as kids' sport restarts