FAQs: Volleyball in Step 3 of the lockdown roadmap

17th June 2021

FAQs: Volleyball in Step 3 of the lockdown roadmap

In February, the Government outlined a plan for cautiously relaxing lockdown restrictions in 2021. This plan was broken into key steps, with the decision to proceed to the next step based on several key tests. Following further information, we produced an infographic outlining what the steps mean for volleyball.

Guidance for Step 3, which are currently in, is available to read by visiting our Covid-19 page: www.volleyballengland.org/coronavirus.

We are awaiting further guidance from Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as to how sport will be impacted in Step 4 and beyond. 

Below is a list of answers to commonly asked questions – these have been produced to complement the guidance on our Covid-19 page. The [NEW] and [UPDATED] tags highlight our latest information. You may also find it useful to watch back our return to volleyball (Step 3) webinar recording.

Please note this page was last updated on 17/06/2021.



What volleyball activity can take place?

Currently we are in Step 3 of the lockdown roadmap. As a result, the following is possible so long as Volleyball England guidance is followed:

  • OUTDOORS: Organised volleyball, beach volleyball and sitting volleyball activity for adults and juniors. A risk assessment should be conducted to determine the upper limit of participants.
  • INDOORS: Organised volleyball and sitting volleyball activity for adults and juniors. Please speak to your venue and conduct a risk assessment to determine the maximum occupancy of your indoor playing space. The amount of ventilation will be an important factor and should be maximised. Venue guidance will take precedence here, but in its absence our guidance is that there should be no more than 17 participants per full volleyball court (18m x 9m). If you use badminton court markings with the tramlines (13.4m x 6.1m) there should be no more than 8 participants per court (7 without using tramlines).

Activity that is not classed as being formally organised (i.e. recreational) will need to follow the overall Government guidance on outdoor and indoor legal gathering limits. Currently, that limit is six people or two different households outdoors. From 17th May, that limit is up to 30 people outdoors and either six people or two households indoors. In any case, those taking part in recreational activity must remain socially distant.

Visit www.volleyballengland.org/coronavirus to read the guidance for each discipline in full.

What is classed as ‘organised' volleyball activity? 

Activity that follows the sport-specific safety plans and is formally organised by Volleyball England OR a constituted volleyball club that is affiliated to Volleyball England OR a registered level two (or above) volleyball coach OR an organisation or charity that completes our event registration process.

In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment, appoint a Covid-19 officer, and take all reasonable steps to limit the transmission of Covid-19.

We must stress that any activity that is not classed as organised (i.e. recreational) will need to follow the overall Government guidance on outdoor legal gathering limits.

Why was the definition of 'organised' volleyball activity changed?

As part of the return to play process in 2021, Volleyball England has been tasked with taking on even more responsibility for ensuring Covid-19 guidance is being applied. Therefore, at this stage, only clubs, level two coaches and organisations/charities we have established lines of communication with, which we can use to provide them with up-to-date information as it changes to deliver safe volleyball activity, will be able to arrange activity for larger groups of participants than legal gathering limits currently allow. See “Monitoring and enforcement of the rules” on our Covid-19 support page for more information.

Are workforce/volunteers/trainers counted in the gathering limits? 

From 17th May (Step 3), yes, they will count within that higher maximum number when it comes to gathering limits.

Are spectators allowed at volleyball activity? 

As of 17th May, in Step 3:

  • OUTDOOR: Remaining socially distant, spectators can gather in distinct groups of up to 30. 
  • INDOOR: Remaining socially distant, spectators can gather in distinct groups of six people/two households. The total number of participants in that indoor space must be adhere to the venue’s maximum occupancy rate. Spectators must also wear a face covering.

Do I have to wear a face covering to play volleyball indoors?

You do not need to wear a face covering while playing indoor volleyball, but you should wear a face covering at all other times when at an indoor sports facility.

If you are playing sitting volleyball, players must either wear a face mask during the activity or return a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before the activity takes place. This is required as sitting volleyball presents a unique set of challenges that require additional measures to reduce the risk involved in playing.

Can I travel to take part in sport and physical activity?

You should minimise travel and avoid making unnecessary journeys (for example, by combining trips where possible), but you can leave your home to exercise and take part in informal and organised volleyball activity. Always check that it’s safe to travel before you set out to take part in volleyball.

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: www.molten.co.jp/sports/en/volleyball/product/volleyball/index.html (please click on the relevant product to find ball care instructions)
  • 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. During training sessions, they should be cleaned every 30 minutes. It should be stressed that regularly sanitising your hands and not touching your face are essential to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19. 

Will I be breaking any anti-doping rules if I have any of the Covid-19 vaccines that are approved for use in the UK?  

WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) has released a statement clarifying that, in the highly unlikely event that a vaccine may cause a possible anti-doping rule violation under the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA’s oversight of any subsequent results management will ensure that vaccines and the principles of anti-doping do not come into conflict. UKAD (the UK Anti-Doping Agency) has also released a statement in support of this. UKAs has also confirmed that all three of the approved UK vaccines have been added to Global DRO with a ‘not prohibited’ status.  

Will I need a vaccine passport to be able to play volleyball?

Volleyball England has no intention of introducing a requirement for vaccine passports. However, we will follow Government guidance should the situation change.



[NEW] How many teams are allowed to participate in a tournament?

The number of teams is only limited by your risk assessment, where you will take into account factors such as space for social distancing.

[NEW] Can teams mix between courts?

Yes, teams can mix between courts.

[NEW] How far apart do courts need to be?

Courts should be a minimum of two metres apart (side line to side line).

[NEW] I heard there was a limit of two courts and 30 people?

No this was under Step 2. Under Step 3, which England is currently in, the number of courts and players is only limited by your risk assessment.

[NEW] Can we use mouth blown whistles?

No. You must NOT use mouth-blown whistles, you must use non-mouth-blown whistles e.g. hand operated whistles, electronic whistles, or other devices to make a noise.

[NEW] Does every court require a Covid officer?

Yes – although the referee could also double up as the Covid Officer.

[NEW] What are the social distancing requirements off court?

Off court you must follow the Government guidelines for gathering limits (currently 30 outdoors)

[NEW] Are spectators allowed?

Yes but they must abide by the government gathering limits, you should consider this in your risk assessment and determine if you wish to have spectators.

Spectators are permitted both indoors and outdoors in Step 3, but capacity limits apply. Outdoor grassroots sport events can have up to 4,000 spectators or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower.

In any case, spectators should maintain social distancing and must adhere to legal gathering limits whilst they’re spectating (i.e. outdoors there cannot be any groups larger than 30 people, and indoors groups no larger than six people or groups made up of two households. Multiple groups of spectators are permitted)

[NEW] What are the rules for showers and toilets.

Please speak to your venue, they should have guidance for you to follow.



What must affiliate 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 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. 

Our club is affiliated to Volleyball England but 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. 

What is the advice for sports venues? 

All indoor and outdoor sports facilities can now re-open. Click here for detailed guidance.



What is the best way to contact the Hub team? 

To ensure your query is answered as soon as possible, please email info@volleyballengland.org. Staff are working from home and therefore do not have access to the main office phoneline. Thank you for your understanding. 

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 our dedicated Covid-19 web page and Sport England's FAQs for more information. If you have any questions or need further support, please email info@volleyballengland.org.

FAQs: Volleyball in Step 3 of the lockdown roadmap