FAQs: Volleyball and the new restrictions on sport

20th October 2020

FAQs: Volleyball and the new restrictions on sport

As of Thursday, 24th September, organised indoor sport for over 18s is no longer exempt from the Government’s rule of six. Therefore, indoor volleyball cannot be played by a group of more than six adults in England.

Following that, as of 14th October, all areas of England will fall into one of three local Covid alert levels: MEDIUM, HIGH or VERY HIGH. Restrictions are tightened as areas move through the tiers, as summarised here.

We know these announcements have prompted many questions so below we have compiled a list of answers to commonly asked questions. The [NEW] and [UPDATED] tags highlight our latest information.

Please note this page was last updated on 20/10/2020.

 

GAMEPLAY AND TRAINING

[UPDATED] What volleyball activity can take place?

As long as Volleyball England’s Government-approved guidance is adhered to and the activity is classed as ‘organised’, the following can take place in the different tiers:

Local Covid alert level: MEDIUM (Tier 1)

  • Organised volleyball and beach volleyball involving no more than 30 people can continue to take place outdoors.
  • Socially-distant sitting volleyball training can continue to take place on grass or sand.
  • Indoor volleyball can continue if the rule of six is followed (ie it is played between a group of six adults or less). Exemptions to the rule of six still apply for U18s, disabled athletes and students over the age of 18 across higher and further education.

Local Covid alert level: HIGH (Tier 2)

  • Organised volleyball and beach volleyball involving no more than 30 people can continue to take place outdoors.
  • Socially-distant sitting volleyball training can continue to take place on grass or sand.
  • Indoor volleyball must comply with the rule of household, so can only be played between those from the same household or support bubble. Exemptions to the rule of six still apply for U18s, disabled athletes and students over the age of 18 across higher and further education. Supervisors and coaches are allowed into junior sessions, but spectators are not.

Local Covid alert level: VERY HIGH (Tier 3)

  • Organised volleyball and beach volleyball involving no more than 30 people can continue to take place outdoors.
  • Socially-distant sitting volleyball training can continue to take place on grass or sand.
  • Indoor volleyball must comply with the rule of household, so can only be played between those from the same household or support bubble. Exemptions to the rule of six still apply for U18s, disabled athletes and students over the age of 18 across higher and further education. Supervisors and coaches are allowed into junior sessions, but spectators are not.

Head to www.volleyballengland.org/coronavirus to read through our previously published plans for the safe return of indoor, outdoor and beach volleyball. These plans detail measures that should be taken by players, clubs, officials, volunteers, coaches and event organisers before, during and after all volleyball activity.

If you are playing volleyball informally with people you don’t live with, you must limit the size of your group to six. It is illegal to do so in a larger group.

What is classed as ‘organised volleyball activity’?

Activity that is organised by a national governing body, club, registered coach, business or charity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and take all reasonable steps to limit transmission of Covid-19 by reference to that risk assessment, and adhere to Volleyball England’s return to volleyball guidance.

[NEW] What is the definition of a support bubble?

It is the Government’s definition of a support bubble, as defined here.

In Tier 1, can you have multiple bubbles of six in one sports hall or court?

Yes. However, bubbles must not mix or have close contact with another, so while 3v3 gameplay within a bubble is possible, 6v6 gameplay between two bubbles is not.

Please make sure the bubbles always remain at least two metres apart. Plans for how this will be achieved should be outlined by the Covid Officer in risk assessments prior to the activity taking place and communicated to all players. Venue advice on the distance between courts and bubbles supersedes that of Volleyball England’s.

For example, it would be possible for two different bubbles to share a court space, so long as they did not cross paths. These diagrams help to illustrate how that could be achieved.

[NEW] Can I travel from an area in Tier 2 into an area in Tier 1 for the purpose of sport? And what about out of or into a Tier 3 area for sport?

People may travel out of an area in the HIGH (Tier 2) alert level into an area in the MEDIUM (Tier 1) alert level for the purpose of sport. If you do, please take a responsible approach to travel and wear a facemask.

You should not travel either out of or into an area that falls into the VERY HIGH (Tier 3) category for sport. Exemptions apply for U18s, disabled athletes and students over the age of 18 acros shigher and further education who may travel out of or into the area but only for the purpose of sport. Please take a responsible approach to travel and wear a facemask.

Can adults mix with junior groups when taking part in indoor volleyball to create a group of more than six? E.g. four adults and four children equals eight in total, but only four adults

No. If an adult (aged 18 or over) takes part in organised indoor volleyball alongside children (under 18), the 'rule of six' applies, so this can only take place in bubbles of up to six people (adults and children combined). However, coaches are able to feed the ball into sessions for juniors.

The Government has said that organised indoor team sports for disabled people can take place in any number. Does this mean sitting volleyball can now take place indoors?

Sport England has clarified that this applies only to disabled athletes, not disability sports such as sitting volleyball in general, which complicates the picture.

A person is classed as having a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

We are still working on the Return to Volleyball Sitting plans to submit to Government, until plans have been given the green light, indoor sitting volleyball cannot take place. We are currently working on what we hope are the final stages of a prototype sitting volleyball net to minimise the transmission risk further within the game. Once that has been successfully tested, plans will be submitted to DCMS for approval. Proposals will then be outlined for sitting volleyball’s return.

If a player turns 18 this academic year can they continue to train?

They must be under the age of 18 at the time of the activity for the exemption to apply. For events and competitions, this will be whether they are under 18 on the day the competition or event or training takes place.

How does the rule of six affect school/college/university sport?

Following conversations with DCMS and Sport England, BUCS has been able to clarify that over-18s are covered by the exemption for sport for educational purposes, which includes intra-mural, training and inter-university competitions.

Therefore, playing for school/college/university teams IS covered by the exemption both at an intra-mural and inter-university level. This includes the HEVO programme.

The exemption does not apply to all activity that happens to take place on the university site. i.e. playing for a university team is exempt, but another football club/league that happens to use the university facilities or is loosely associated would not fall under the exemption. It could still go ahead, but the rule of six would apply as with other indoor team sport. The exemption does not currently cover recreational use, i.e. 5-a-side bookings for groups of friends either.

Please click here to read more about this change as detailed in an announcement made by BUCS on Friday, 2nd October.

What is the limit on the number of adults present to allow U18 volleyball activity to take place?

If you’re running an event for juniors, there is no limit on the number of adults that can help to run it. However, in line with return to play guidance, the total number of juniors and adults must not exceed 30 and those adults must not be physically involved in the gameplay or training situations.

Please consider safeguarding guidance when thinking about the right balance between adults and children.

Are any groups of indoor volleyball athletes, coaches or officials in England classed as elite?

No, not under the Government's current criteria. 

What is the best way to clean volleyballs?

Please seek instructions from the manufacturer on how equipment should be cleaned. Here is some guidance from three of the most common makes of volleyball:

  • Mikasa: mikasasports.co.jp/e/support/maintenance
  • Molten (please click on the relevant product to find ball care instructions): www.molten.co.jp/sports/en/volleyball/product/volleyball/index.html
  • Wilson: Wet wipes, regular disinfectant spray or cloth will not harm Wilson volleyballs, according to the manufacturer, because they are made of composite leather. Make sure volleyballs are completely dry before storing them.

Remember, balls should be cleaned between sessions and wiped down and dried during timeouts and after every set. It should be stressed that regularly sanitising your hands and not touching your face is essential to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19.

What actions should be taken when a player dives to retrieve a ball and leaves a trail of sweat on the floor?

The floor should be dried with a towel after the next point to prevent the risk of slip injuries. If the individual who dried the floor with a towel used their hands, they should sanitise them afterwards.

What should you do if, after attending a volleyball match or training session, you test positive for Covid-19?

In England, you'll get an email, text or call from the NHS Test and Trace service if you test positive after having symptoms. You'll be asked where you've been recently and who you've been in close contact with. If necessary, you should provide the details of the Covid-19 Officer from the volleyball activity who will have recorded the details or who was in attendance.

What should I do if I have to give first aid?

St John Ambulance has compiled a guide on delivering first aid during the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here to read it in full.

 

CLUB ACTIVITY

What must affiliated clubs do to ensure they are covered by their Volleyball England member insurance? 

Clubs must follow government and Volleyball England guidance to remain covered. For more information on the insurance cover, click here.

Is Covid-19 covered under the Volleyball England’s membership insurance?

There is no cover for contracting Covid-19 due to the challenges in pinpointing when and where it was transmitted. Affiliated clubs following Volleyball England’s guidance will receive assistance from Sports Insure should a claim be raised against a club.

Does every club require a Covid-19 officer for each session of volleyball activity?

Yes, for every session there needs to be a Covid-19 Officer who has responsibility to ensure that all of the mitigating measures and guidance is followed. Click here to find out more about the Covid-19 Officer role.

Our club is affiliated to Volleyball England, but it is based outside of England, what advice should we follow?

Please heed the advice from your devolved administration. For example, clubs based in Wales should read the latest advice from Volleyball Wales and the Welsh Government.

 

VOLLEYBALL ENGLAND

What is happening to Volleyball England competitions for the 2020/21 season?

At an emergency meeting of the Volleyball England Board on Thursday, 24th September, it was agreed that the proposed start of the NVL in late October will no longer be possible.

In early September, the Board had backed plans for indoor competitions for the 2020/21 season. However, those plans now need heavily revising.

The Competitions Working Group (CWG) and Hub staff will now work on innovative proposals that will allow the NVL to start as soon as restrictions on indoor team sports for adults are lifted. At the moment, only 3v3 indoor volleyball gameplay is possible for adults.

While players under the age of 18 are exempt from the new restrictions, junior competitions cannot go ahead in their current format. Nevertheless, the Board was adamant that a solution should be found for the competitions to go ahead. A new-look format had been agreed thanks to work by the CWG and Children and Young People Working Group but this needs amending to make the competitions safer.

What is the best way to contact the Hub team?

Volleyball England has furloughed the majority of staff in response to the Government’s new restrictions on indoor sport. This means that staff levels will be vastly reduced up until the end of October.

To help guide your query to a member of staff who will be able to help we would please ask that, in the first instance, you contact info@volleyballengland.org.

Staff are continuing to work from home and therefore do not have access to the main office phoneline. However, call forwarding has been arranged for most extensions.

Can I still buy items from Volleyball England's online shop?

Yes, but we are unable to put a time frame on when those items will be shipped. Members of staff are working from home and do not currently have access to our storeroom.

If you have made an order, rest assured it will be fulfilled once we return to the office. If you have made an order and now wish to cancel it, please contact our finance team (finance@volleyballengland.org) who will be able to arrange a refund for you.

 

Please refer to Sport England's FAQ for more information. Do you have a question that has so far gone unanswered? Please email info@volleyballengland.org

FAQs: Volleyball and the new restrictions on sport