National League

National League
Dec 07 2021

Basketball Ireland issues updated guidelines as new venue capacity restrictions come into place

Basketball Ireland‘s 'Return to Play Group’ has issued updated guidelines in line with the Irish government’s new restrictions, which include a 50% venue capacity limit for spectators. All spectators must be fully seated and wear a mask at all times.

Basketball Ireland CEO John Feehan said: “This will have both operational and commercial implications for everyone involved in basketball and we are assessing how we deal with that. Naturally it is disappointing, as we are fully aware that clubs will have pre-sold tickets for games over the coming weeks. We hope these venue restrictions will be short-lived.”

Charles Higgins, chair of Basketball Ireland’s ‘Return to Play’ group added: “Our clubs have shown adaptability throughout this pandemic, as government guidelines evolve and change and this will remain the case. We have updated our guidelines to clubs, I would ask that all our clubs read through them and continue adhere to them, to keep our sport and community safe.”

Any queries on the latest restrictions should be emailed to Basketball Ireland’s ‘Return to Play’ group on The latest Basketball Ireland ‘Return to Play guidelines, are below.

Basketball Return to Play Guidance.

     In line with the updated government guidance of the 5th of December 2021, please note that it is the parent decision if their child participate in any activity, training or games. Please adhere to all the guidance and stay safe.

As of the 7th of December please be advised that as per Government Guidance:

Indoor sporting events

  • maximum spectator capacity at indoor sporting events is 50%, all of which must be fully seated. 
  • face masks should be worn at all times unless eating or drinking
  • there is a requirement for COVID pass (vaccination or recovery) for entry to gyms and leisure centres.
  • This will remain in place until the 9th of January 2022 and will be reviewed then.

Indoor Youth Sport – Games and Competitions (Updated 4 November, 2021)

Underage Participants - Children under 18 Years Old

  • The current “pod of six” system can be adjusted to allow for indoor games and competition/activities according to the ordinary rules and limits of the sport concerned.
  • The ‘pod of six’ system should be retained for all other settings such as training activities.
  • The continuation of the pod system for more frequent activity will assist in minimising the overall risk and facilitate contact tracing. 

Mitigation Measures for Inclusion in Indoor Youth Sport Protocols

  • Staggered start and finish times combined with appropriate entry, exit and traffic

`     management protocols to minimise the unnecessary interaction of participants at any time.

  • The pre-booking of activity including the health screening of participants along with

coaches & support personnel.

  • Symptomatic individuals not to participate in or attend sporting activities.
  • Consideration of indoor space densities when determining overall numbers.
  • Reduction in the overall duration of activities.
  • Ensuring that indoor spaces are well ventilated.
  • Participants to arrive prepared to play; limited use of changing room or showers.
  • The ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene.
  • The wearing of face coverings by coaches and support personnel.
  • Additional signage, hand sanitization stations and deep cleaning implemented.
  • The use of physical distancing during warm-ups, rest times and off the field of play.
  • No handshakes, high fives, fist pumps, chest bumps, huddles, group celebrations, etc.

Underage Spectators at Indoor Sporting Events

     Accompanied minors (i.e. children under 18 years old accompanied with a fully vaccinated/proof of immunity adult) attending indoor sporting events in a spectating capacity are not required to be fully vaccinated or recovered to attend events and do not need to show a COVID-19 pass.

     Unaccompanied minors (children under 18 years old) attending indoor sporting events in a spectating capacity are required to be fully vaccinated or recovered to attend events and must show a COVID-19 pass. They must also have photo ID to prove that the COVID-19 Pass relates to them.

Indoor Sport – General

  • The use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (vaccine or recovery certificate) will be required for accessing indoor sporting activities and events. (18’s and older, as per government guidelines).
  • Where individuals have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult coaches/instructors).
  • Multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures.
  • The overall number of pods will have regard to the size of venue and there should be substantial social distance between individual pods.
  • Venues are limited to 50% of spectator capacity and all spectators must be vaccinated.
  • Vaccinated spectators attending indoor sporting events should be fully seated.

    Under 12’s down are to be considered in pods of 6 only during training. Competitive games are allowed i.e. friendlies for these age groups are allowed. League and cup matches are permitted in accordance with the rules of Basketball Ireland and FIBA.

Competitive Training and Games 

     Competitive training and games are allowed, for all levels and age groups, friendlies and invitationals are permitted. Games can take place but with the COVID Certificate and symptom checks done by all participating.

Competition Games 

    Competitions can take place, league and cup matches for all levels and age groups. Games can take place, but with the COVID Certificate and symptom checks done.

Transport To and From Activities & Events 

    Public transport is operating at full capacity. Protective measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing etc. should be used in line with guidance for travel on public transport.

     Carpooling is allowed but not recommended and all persons should be aware of the higher risks to unvaccinated individuals. The use of appropriate sanitiser and face coverings is recommended

Guidance for Venue Entry

      All participants are to complete the COVID questionnaire before entry regardless of Vaccination, Recovery or other and provide COVID certificates.

     If participating in the game complete COVID questionnaire before you leave your house and don’t travel if in any way unwell.

  1. All participants should have completed a questionnaire before going to the venue, filled out the questionnaire on the app, however there should be a questionnaire at the door so they can fill it out there if needed.
  2. All persons should be aware of the symptoms of COVID.
  3. No person should go to the venue if they suspect they may have or have symptoms of COVID.
  4. No person should travel in an enclosed area with another person if they feel unwell or suspect they are unwell.
  5. If a person presents with a high temperature only, (which must be less than 37.5°c as recommended by the HSE), then the questions related to COVID symptoms should be asked. (see point 7 below)
  6. Retake temperature as it may have come down. (Recommend take the temperature 3 times and take the average of the 3, as some devices have a tolerance range that may be low.) The person may have been running to the venue.

The following questions should be asked.

  1. Do you have?
    1. Fever or chills
    2. Cough
    3. Shortness of breath
    4. Loss of smell or taste
    5. Fatigue
    6. Aches and pains
    7. Sore throat
    8. Headache
    9. Runny or stuffy nose
    10. Feeling sick or vomiting
    11. Diarrhoea
      1. Have you been around anyone that has tested positive for COVID in the last 48hrs?
      2. Have you been a close contact with any person who has had a test and has not received result, or is waiting for a test?
      3. If No to the questions in point 7 then retake temperature, as it may have come down. (Recommend take the temperature 3 times and take the average of the 3, as some devices have a tolerance range that may be low.)
      4. If yes to more than one item in point 7 then entry is not recommended.
      5. If yes to points k) i, ii, then no entry is allowed.
      6. If a person is unwell and has travelled on a bus/coach or in a group/team then it is recommended all be tested and follow rules relating to waiting for the results.
      7. If a person has travelled in a car as a group and they are unwell, or present with symptoms, then entry is not recommended to that group of people even if they are players.
      8. Any person or group that has presented with symptoms should be advised to contact their health advisor and follow the instructions given by them.

No entry to anyone undergoing a test or advised to quarantine (due to close contact).

      All points here are guidance and are in line with the National health guidelines and the Basketball Ireland RTP guidelines.

      All participant should be made aware of, understand and agree the requirements so as to avoid any issue at the entry of the venue.

Venue Training

The venue for training.

All persons entering the facility have to fill out or be asked the COVID questionnaire.

     All sanitisation and cleaning protocols to be followed. The flow of people entering and exiting will be through more than one entry/exit point and the allowable number can enter through one door and exit from another (e.g. Fire Exit). Recommended use of face masks when not in an active game

  • Normal Operating Procedures to be visible.
  • Emergency Operating Procedures to be visible.
  • Robust cleaning procedures in place and available on request.
  • Only the team/age group training allowed on the court.
  • Plan for changeover of teams/age groups after sessions, so there is time to clean all areas and surfaces – COVID compliance/venue officer is responsible for the management of changeovers.
  • Venue has to maximise ventilation opportunity – open doors, windows etc. – in order to reduce aerosol spread. 
  • Recommended that toilets follow the guidance outlined below. The venue has appropriate toilet facilities and can maintaining social distance rules. Suitable hand washing facilities must be available.
  • Water fountains cordoned off.
  • Hand sanitiser available at entrance to the building.
  • Recommended:
  • Hand sanitiser on court
  • Regular disinfection of heavily used areas and surfaces
  • Increased waste disposal bins and dedicated COVID-19 disposal signage
  • Separate entrance and exits to the court and main building, clearly signed
  • COVID-19 symptom checker/poster at the entrance
  • Available PPE for medical emergency and staff with knowledge on how to apply first aid within COVID-19 restrictions.

Venue Games

All persons entering the facility have to fill out or be asked the COVID questionnaire.

The venue for Games.

     All sanitisation and cleaning protocols to be followed. The flow of people entering and exiting will be through more than one entry/exit point and the allowable number can enter through one door and exit from another (e.g. Fire Exit).

      The COVID questionnaire or the app should be used before travel, but if not done then it can be done at the door.

     It is advised that at least 12hrs before the game the host is contacted and advised that all participants have answered the COVID questionnaire, used the app, or some may have to be processed at the door.

  1. Contract Tracing:

    The Home team is responsible for contract tracing. The Away team must inform the host team in writing at least 12 hours before the game of who will be attending the game from their club, that the team has COVID checks done and is symptom free.

  1. 2. Access to Court:

     At a minimum, teams must have access 30 minutes before tip-off. However, if another game has preceded the fixture time must be allowed for cleansing etc. as per guidelines. Ideally, there should be access between 30 minutes and 60 minutes before tip-off.

  1. Dressing Rooms & Toilets:

     Where venues permit it, dressing rooms may be used providing the guidance below is followed and sanitisation is enforced. Toilets can be used under the same conditions.

  1. Benches:

     Benches can be used; players and coaches do not need to wear masks during the games.

  1. Equipment:

       The equipment (ball) should be sanitised every 30 minutes or at half time. It is recommended that more than one (1) ball be present so it can be sanitised and/or replaced by the other at half-time, to avoid damp or stickiness after sanitisation.

  1. Masks:

Recommended use of face masks when not participating in an active game. Spectators should wear masks.

Showers / Changing Rooms / Sports Clubhouse Gyms

     Showers & Changing Rooms can begin to reopen with protective measures in place.

  • Where all individuals are vaccinated the full use of showers and changing rooms is permitted.
  • Where individuals have mixed immunity status the use of these facilities should be pod based.

The type of protective measures implemented will be determined by the type of facility users (i.e. vaccinated / mixed immunity). Sample protective measures may include:

  • Ensure only necessary participants/ sports teams/ officials/ support staff have access to changing rooms.
  • Limit overall number and duration of individuals in a changing room for example implement a 15 minute window / 5 minute shower rule etc.
  • Continue to implement adequate social distancing measures in changing areas for example the use of every second changing space/lockers/shower head etc.
  • Recommend the wearing of masks in shared areas (showers are the exception).
  • Provide clear signage highlighting any relevant space capacities and time durations.
  • Close off any unnecessary spaces or those not in use/not permitted.
  • Monitor toilets with agreed capacity numbers and limit to participants/patrons only.
  • Implement flow management systems where necessary. One entry, different exit.
  • To improve ventilation consider an open window / open door policy (subject to privacy).
  • Provide sanitisation stations as appropriate on entrances and in shared areas.
  • Continue to promote hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette through signage, posters etc.
  • Ensure deep cleaning of shared areas on a regular basis. 

If COVID-19 Symptoms Reported After the Session

  • All participants (players, coaches and support staff) in the training session have a responsibility to notify the COVID-19 Compliance Officer should they get symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of the training session.
  • Anyone with symptoms should call their doctor or health care doctor.
  • COVID-19 Compliance Officer to direct the infected individual to the National Government’s Contact-tracing procedures. In addition to the above advice, the COVID Compliance Officer must contact all individuals that attended the training session in question to advise that an individual within that group has reported symptoms. If the individual is a coach, then all participants of all sessions will need to be contacted.
  • If a member of a team presents with symptoms within 48 hours of a training session/game and has been in contact with other players, coaches and officials, then training/practice/matches played by that team must be suspended and a period of isolation as set out by the government,
  1. The player will have to stop activities and get tested.
  2. The team will have to suspend activities and monitor for symptoms. (team here means any person involved in the activity that may have been in close contact)
  3. If the test is negative then the player must not return to activities until the player is symptom free for at least 48hrs, only then return to activities.
  4. The team may return to activities if the test is negative without the tested player, but must watch for any symptoms that may be related to the COVID virus. Report any symptoms to the COVID Compliance Officer.
  5. If the test is Positive then the player will be given advice from the doctor or Health care professional and should follow this advice. The HSE or the Public health medical advice team will give advice to the other people that were in close contact with the person.
  6. Our protocols remain, but the HSE and Medical advice team has to be followed above these protocols in a confirmed case situation.
  • The name of the infected individual is not to be disclosed to protect anonymity.
  • COVID-19 Compliance Officer should complete the COVID-19 incident reporting form, Basketball Ireland COVID-19 Screening Document.

Hygiene Considerations

     This is the guidance on maintaining good hygiene for players within basketball.


  • After using the toilet facility, thoroughly wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap or alcohol gel (minimum 60% ethanol or 70% is propanol)
  • Use of changing rooms as above
  • No handshakes, high fives or other bodily contact Social distancing rules apply
  • When having touched high-contact surfaces such as door handles, benches, chairs, public computer keyboards etc. sanitise hands thereafter.

During Training/Playing 

  • Ensure all HSE, Sport Ireland, Basketball Ireland, Government and other guidelines are adhered to,
  • Ball washing or wiping down with sanitiser prior to starting,
  • No sharing of bibs.
  • No shared towels.
  • No shared water bottles.
  • ‘Crates’ of water may be provided but each bottle is for individual use not to be shared.
  • No handshakes, high fives or other bodily contact except that of on court play,
  • Have plenty of hand sanitiser available courtside with regular stoppages (the recommendation is every 30 minutes, or at half time.) for application.
  • Social distancing rules apply when not on court,
  • All balls cleaned before, during and after training.
  • Once team practices commence, we recommend wiping balls every 30 minutes.
  • Ball washing/wiping at the end of the session.
  • Immediate hand washing/sanitising once the session is complete.
  • Recommended use of face masks for coaches, support staff and officials, when not in an active game.

After Training/Games

    It is recommended that:

  • Immediate hand washing or hand sanitising for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Showering or changing at the venue (where applicable and policies in place).
  • No congregating at the venue after your game.
  • No handshakes, high fives or other bodily contact.