Volleyball Ireland Postpones National League Start Date by Two Weeks
As a result of an extension to Covid-19 related restrictions, The National League Management Committee, with support from the Board of Volleyball Ireland, has taken the decision to postpone the start of the National League season by two weeks to Saturday November 27th. The Government has extended the restrictions around Indoor sport that were due to end on October 22nd into February 2022. These restrictions mean that only people with valid Covid Recovery or Vaccinations Certificates can be involved in competitive Volleyball matches or full 6v6 training sessions
Volleyball Ireland supports the Government’s Vaccination programme and is proud that Ireland has amongst the highest vaccination rates in the World. We also respect that vaccination is a personal choice and as such, we are postponing the Volleyball National League by two weeks to give participants that are currently unvaccinated, the best possible chance to play at the start of the season. Inclusion is important to us and we value ever member of the Volleyball community. This postponement will therefore permit those who do not wish to gain immunisation an opportunity to participate in a meaningful way when restrictions ease in February.
The postponement provides several benefits & opportunities:
- The two week postponement, provides an opportunity for some players, coaches and referees to avail of the Covid vaccination programme and participate at the very start of the season
- The moving of two of the scheduled league weekends into early Spring will allow an opportunity for those individuals who do not wish to avail of the Covid vaccination to still play a meaningful role in the National League season, once restrictions are eased. More than half of the National League season will now take place after February 1st
- The postponement reduces the risk of clubs whose numbers are stretched due to the extension of restrictions, having to forfeit matches therefore retaining the integrity of the Competition and giving the League the best possible chance to be completed in full
Volleyball Ireland General Manager, Gary Stewart said, “This difficult decision has been made with our core values of respect and inclusion at the forefront – we value every member of the Volleyball community and we’ve tried to find a way to give as many people as possible a chance to play Volleyball this season. It has the best interests of clubs and the wider Volleyball community in mind, and we hope it will support all clubs whose numbers for both playing, coaching and refereeing will be stretched by the extension to restrictions.
In regards to youth Volleyball, we are hopeful that Government will amend its current policy to restrict participation in indoor sport by children – we are keen to work with Government Agencies, such as Sport Ireland as well as the health authorities and the Department of Education to put in place protective measures that means children can participate in Volleyball and other indoor team sports.”
Over 900 teams enter our schools competition programme each year and 18 clubs are taking part in our Junior Girls National League. Gary added, “These teenagers are at a key drop out age for sport and physical activity so it’s vital we find a way to keep them physically active and involved. The long term effects on a child’s development by not taking part in sport during the winter months, or by not sharing physical activity with their friends is significant. All stakeholders need to come together and find a way for our children to play sport – it’s too important.”
The league campaign will now end in early May with the league entry list and fixture programme to be published in the coming days.
An update on the Youth League and Schools competitions will be provided in due course, once consultation with Sport Ireland and the Department of Education is complete.
Volleyball Ireland’s Covid protocols and other supporting materials can be found here > https://www.volleyballireland.com/about/coronavirus/
Please consult www.gov.ie for official Covid related information.