Just a week before Christmas there were few National League fixtures. Only five involving a London club and just three were played outside London, none arranged that involved a London team. In mid week after a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, the English Volleyball Association temporarily suspended the regulation to allow a team in the National Volleyball League to postpone its upcoming fixtures on the weekend of 18th and 19th December. Indeed, it also encouraged other competition organisers to do the same as an interim measure while more information about the new variant emerges.
Sam Jamieson, Deputy CEO of Volleyball England, said, “With Government rhetoric around Covid-19 changing in recent days, we re-formed our Covid-19 Response Working Group to discuss changes to our guidance. The group is represented by figures from across the sport, and the result of the discussions was clear. Safety is our absolute number one priority, so with Covid-19 cases predicted to skyrocket in the days ahead we must all do more to protect each other.
“We know many of our players will be travelling home before Christmas, whether that is across the United Kingdom or further afield and, as the Government has said, we must prioritise our social interactions. We will be keeping a close eye on Government Covid-19 updates over the coming weeks and will release more information in due course.”
New additions to the Association’s Covid-19 recommendations to ensure volleyball is as safe as possible by reducing the risk of transmission are as follows:
We strongly recommend there should be no spectators or line judges and only one scorer at a volleyball match.
We recommend that all personnel in attendance at volleyball activities who aren’t playing wear a face covering. This includes coaches, officials and players when they’re not on court.
We recommend participants take a lateral flow test immediately (or as close as possible) before travelling to a competition or training session – and to not travel but isolate if positive.
Having received the advice, discussed within their clubs and with their opponents, one by one a couple of word written in red appeared after each match until the seven read:
Aces v Miners Doncaster, match postponed
Richmond Bucks v Cambridge ARU, match postponed
Bristol v Giants, match postponed
Sunderland v Lionhearts, match postponed
City of Bristol v Richmond Bucks, match postponed
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton
Source: Volleyball England website