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How returning to sport guidelines affect fencing

Returning to Sport

On Friday 1st May 2020 the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Scot Morrison MP, announced National Principles for the resumption of Sport and Recreation activities (National Principles) which have been adopted by the National Cabinet on the advice of the Australian Protection Principle Committee.

The National Principles are underpinned by the Australian Institute of Sport Framework for rebooting sport in a COVID19 environment. The Australian Fencing Federation offers its thanks to the team from the AIS and in particular the AIS Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Hughes, who have worked tirelessly to develop a safe and consistent way for sport to resume across Australia.

The AIS Framework is available for download by clicking here. The National Principles are also available for download by clicking here.

Impact on Australian Fencing

Member states, clubs and coaches must be guided by their State or Territory announcements on returning to sport. These are expected over the coming weeks. No one should return to sport unless it is legal in their State or Territory to do so. Different jurisdictions may permit the resumption of some sporting activities at different times.

Once sporting activity resumes, the AIS Framework recommends Level A, B, C activities for community and individual sports, including fencing. Refer to Appendix A. While the three phases A, B and C of the AIS Framework provide a general guide, individual jurisdictions may provide additional parameters based on local factors.

Significantly, in the first instance all return to sport will be managed on a Get In, Train and Get Out basis. There will be no opportunity for socialising.

As we wait for State and Territory Governments to make announcements for their jurisdictions, all members can take the following steps to help ensure fencing training and competition resume as soon as possible:

  • Familiarise yourself with available community education resources to promote required behaviours (e.g. regular and thorough handwashing, covering mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve during coughing/sneezing) – refer to page 12 of the AIS Framework.
  • Download the Commonwealth Government COVIDSafe app.
  • If you are experiencing even a mild symptom of COVID-19, stay home and follow the latest guidelines in your State or Territory on getting tested for the virus.

Insurance matters

While return-to-sport opportunities may become available in a state or territory in the coming weeks, fencing organisers who rely on the AFF’s insurance scheme are still required to submit any proposed fencing activity to be sanctioned for insurance purposes. More information on this process is available in the AFF announcement from 8th April which can be read here.

In addition, from today, all requests to the AFF to sanction a physical activity should include information on how the organiser will promote the AIS Framework.

Any queries arising from this article should be directed to [email protected].

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