England Grassroots Sports Guidance - Update March 23rd 2021

As many of you will know England Grassroots Sports Guidance has been recently updated and now provides indications and rules for the re-introduction of contact from as early as March 29th based on a Sport England approved plan from NGBs, Associations or Franchisors.  We strongly recommend you read this guidance thoroughly and await specific instructions from your NGB, Association or Franchisor.

March 29th – Outdoor Training for Organised Sport

  • WITH APPROVED PLAN: Under 18’s can train in unlimited numbers and at Phase 2 return to contact which means “combat sports can resume contact training which includes direct physical contact between participants”.
  • WITH APPROVED PLAN: Adults can train in larger numbers at Phase 1 return to equipment training. “This is solely for the use of training with handheld and wearable equipment (such as pad work), and during this phase there should be no direct personal contact or contact with clothing.”
  • WITHOUT APPROVED PLAN: Under 18s and adults can train outdoors under Phase 0 non-contact socially distanced activity. “They should only train individually and there should be no activity with others, including with equipment (such as pad work)”

Please refer to this government guidance document for a full definition and explanation of the combat contact sports Phased system: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-grassroots-sports-guidance-for-safe-provision-including-team-sport-contact-combat-sport-and-organised-sport-events#all-sports-and-physical-activity-guidance-and-key-considerations

NGBs, Associations and Franchisors must submit their own style specific plan on how they will implement the phased contact combat sports system into their outdoor training:

“Sports which do not have a recognised national governing body can still only submit one document for the relevant sport. If you are a national governing body which is not recognised by Sport England, you will need to provide further details on the landscape of your sport and how you have worked with other bodies to create a single plan for the sport. This information should be submitted to Sport England at Returntoplay@sportengland.org who will support you to develop a sport-specific action plan.


Once a single plan for the sport has been developed, including details of the organisations that have worked together to create the guidance and will then use the guidance, it should be submitted to DCMS for review at sportsCOVID19@dcms.gov.uk to undergo the same process as for recognised national governing bodies.”

We advise Schools that are not affiliated to any of the above and do not have plans to submit to Sport England to continue practising non-contact socially distanced training.

We are very encouraged by the latest guidance to re-introduce contact into Martial Arts Schools from March 29th and hope this will pave the way for future restriction lifting phases. However we would urge you to focus your efforts on April 12th (subject to change) when we know that under 18s can train indoors in classes and adults can train in an open mat/individual setting. We know there is much excitement about this new outdoor guidance but we would advise you to strongly consider the following:

1) Do you have enough time and energy to organise an outdoor timetable ready for Monday 29th March

2) Are children and parents ready for contact sport?

3) Are you able to Risk Assess with the greatest of confidence to ensure a 100% covid safe learning environment.


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