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Indoor sports and competitions to be allowed take place for all under 18s

A change has been made to Sport Ireland guidance so that all games and competitions for indoor sports can now take place for young people under 18, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator John Cummins, a former secondary school Physical Education teacher said “Government yesterday addressed the recent confusion over Sport Ireland guidance for underage indoor sports. Changes to the guidance will now allow indoor games and competitions to resume for all players under 18.

“I’ve been in touch with parents, teachers and coaches over the past few weeks who were growing increasingly frustrated over the obstacles to getting children back playing indoor sports, in particular basketball, now that the winter months are setting in.

“Sport Ireland previously issued new guidelines based on the Government’s latest Covid announcement. These guidelines stated that indoor sports must be limited to pods of up to six participants where the group was comprised of vaccinated and unvaccinated players.

“This effectively ruled out all matches for children under 12, as they’re currently ineligible for vaccination, and presented significant constraints on games for over 12s as well.

“The new guidance will mean that the current pod system can now be adjusted to allow indoor games and competitions according to the rules of a particular sport. The use of pods will continue for training activities.

“This announcement is hugely positive news for sports clubs across the country, but most importantly it’s a change that will really benefit children. It will allow for fuller participation across sports and will see the resumption of competitions indoors.

“The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for children in particular, as their lives were turned upside down over night. Not only is physical exercise vitally important for their health; social interaction with friends, teachers and coaches is key to the overall development of young people.

“I want to commend my Fine Gael colleagues for raising this issue on multiple occasions across both the Dail and Seanad and thank Minister Jack Chambers for his effective action to bring about a practical solution for the benefit of our young people,” concluded Senator Cummins.

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