A ‘Return to Sport Toolkit’ formulated by Sport Australia with assistance from Hockey Australia (HA) has been disseminated for use by clubs and associations around the country.

Welcomed by HA and its Member Associations, the Return to Sport Toolkit includes a comprehensive checklist that provides advice for local administrators, along with a suite of template documents to help Plan, Prepare, Respond and Recover upon the resumption of training with an eye to eventually returning to play.

The Toolkit complements the AIS Framework for Rebooting Australian Sport in a COVID-19 Environment and has been developed as a resource for all sporting clubs in Australia.

A dedicated COVID-19 Resource Hub has been set up on the HA website, containing template resources for hockey clubs and associations, links to relevant information and FAQs.

This information will be supported by a dedicated COVIDsafe inbox, where club administrators can inquire and receive technical advice.

HA and its Member Associations strongly recommend that all hockey clubs and associations complete the checklist to provide the safest environment for participants.

“The release of the Return to Sport Toolkit is a welcome development in the return to hockey, and something designed to help the thousands of volunteer administrators in our sport,” said Hockey Australia GM- Legal Strategy & Growth, Michael Johnston.

“On what is the last day of National Volunteer Week, being able to provide this level of support to our volunteers comes at an ideal time.”

“We understand how complex the current arrangements are. This Return to Sport Toolkit and the supporting documents are designed to give clubs and associations a head start in creating safe environments and to meet their local obligations.

“It will be really important that our volunteer administrators continue to stay up to date with requirements in their respective state or territory and incorporate this into their planning.

“Our Member Associations will continue to provide regular advice to clubs and associations and support them with the checklist over the coming weeks.”

In announcing the Return to Sport Toolkit, Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton expressed his gratitude to Hockey Australia and experienced sport executive Iain Roy for their involvement, while emphasising the importance of continuing to follow advice from Government health authorities.

“We thank the National Sporting Organisations for their input into this Toolkit, in particular Hockey Australia, and are confident sports will welcome it,” said Dalton.

“But I urge all sporting participants not to jump the starting gun without first the consent of your relevant State and Territory Government health authorities.”

“We know this is a tough time for sport and all Australians. But if we can each commit to getting through this challenging period together, we have every confidence sport will play a prominent role in lifting the nation’s energy and spirits again.”

The creation of the Return to Sport Toolkit and Resource Hub forms the first phase of a staged return to hockey, as outlined below.

Put plans, processes and systems in place to meet local government and health requirements and provide safe environments.

Once COVID safety measures are in place, clubs resume training in line with advice from their state and territory governments and their COVID-19 Safety Plans.

When government restrictions are lifted, competitions can resume in a COVID safe manner and respond in line with their COVID-19 Safety Plans.

When public health officials determine that the outbreak has ended in the local community, clubs consult with relevant authorities to identify criteria for scaling back its COVID-19 prevention actions. Clubs will also consider which protocols can remain to optimise good public and participant health.

The Return to Sport Toolkit can be downloaded at sportaus.gov.au/return-to-sport