We hope you are safe, well, and enjoyed your Christmas and New Year.
We are providing you with an update on the current COVID situation and the 2022 Junior State Cup. This is in response to the Omicron variant and recent State Government announcements in relation to risk assessments for major events.
While we provide this information as being correct as of this date, with the COVID-19 situation, we acknowledged it is also subject to change.
At the time of writing, it is the intent of the New South Wales Touch Association (NSWTA) to deliver both conferences and state final of the Junior State Cups. We are conscious of the need, as advised by the Government, to undertake risk assessments and put in place mitigation plans for the delivery of the events to minimise the risk of transmission.
Under the current Public Health Order, there is no density limit to outdoor community sporting events. However, we do have a responsibility to our membership to undertake a risk assessment and put in place a mitigation plan to limit the opportunity for transmission.
In a normal environment, we would expect to have 12,000 people at the Northern Conference and 10,000 people at the Southern Conference. As such we are faced with logistical challenges to ensure the events can proceed while meeting the requirements of the risk assessment. We still find ourselves in a position of again having to reduce numbers on the venues compared to previous years.
Notwithstanding this, there are also elements that will be monitored and managed in relation to COVID-19 clusters that have emerged over the Christmas New Year period.
We are aware that even in the best-case scenario, the COVID environment can change overnight, and restrictions put in place may place in jeopardy our events. A reduction in allowable numbers from any change to the current Public Health Order in relation to community sports gatherings does represent a significant risk to the running of either venue. This represents a situation whereby financial loses may be felt by our affiliates, participants, and the NSW Touch Association.
The key point in our risk assessment is the number of persons on both venues at any one time and reducing the opportunity for close-quarter mixing without observing social distancing. Further, safely moving participants on and off the venues.
As a result of our risk assessment in line with Government advice, the event WILL again proceed under the Arrive Play Leave Protocol. Like that which was implemented for the 2021 Junior State Cup. The only difference is that parents and families of participants will be able to move freely on the venue, while they are permitted to be on the venue.
Event to be played in Sections
Due to the risk mitigation plan to reduce numbers on the venue at any one time the days will be divided into four (4) sections. Divisions and or Pools will be allocated into a section, they will come in play up to three (3) games back-to-back-to-back and then will be required to leave. Currently, the grid is being worked upon for both venues, and once finalised we will further advise the allocated section schedules for the event.
This will be based on the indications from the EOI, final nominations, the logistical requirements to move people on and off the venue safely, the traffic management plan required to accomplish this, and the ability to get games played. Games will be played a 25min turnaround. Teams in a division/pool will come onto the venue attired ready to play. Then play their matches and leave immediately.
Below is an example of an outline of how this may operate:
Section 1 Section 2
Game 1 8am Game 1 11am
Game 2 8.30am Game 2 11.30am
Game 3 9am Game 3 12noon
Section 1 completed by 9.25am Section 2 Completed by 12.25pm
Section 3 Section 4
Game 1 2pm Game 1 5pm
Game 2 2.30pm Game 2 5.30pm
Game 3 3pm Game 3 6pm
Section 3 competed by 3.25pm Section 4 Completed by 6.25pm
Teams ARE NOT permitted to have game debriefs at the fields. They will be asked to IMMEDIATELY leave the venue at the conclusion of their section.
The only alteration to this currently would be for the Under 18’s, which may only have two fields. In this situation, the Boys 18’s and Girls 18’s games will be played on Friday and Saturday in blocks. As an example, the Boys 18’s teams would all come in and play possibly a morning to mid-afternoon session. These games might have a one or two-game break. There would be a cross over period for participants prior to the Girls 18’s commencing. These teams would then come onto the venue and play in a similar format. The following day they would reverse order of morning block and afternoon block. It is important to note that it is likely that games would extend into the evening under lights. Teams can only come onto the venue 40mins prior to the beginning of their first game and leave immediately once they play their last game of that block.
The changeover times between sections will need to be 1 hour 30 mins.
Due to the size of the venues, the need to move people off and on to ensure we meet our risk mitigation targets, an hour and a half break will be required. This is also to ensure that the traffic management plan and discussed with the local authorities is workable. All teams, team management, and spectators MUST have vacated the venue within 20mins immediately at the competition of their section games. Teams and Team management MUST not come on to the venue until 40mins prior to the commencement of their section.
In 2021 only one parent was allowed. Currently for the 2022 event and under the arrive play leave format both parents and siblings can attend. However, they must vacate the venue at the conclusion of their section. It is imperative that each affiliate clearly and concisely passes on this message to all parents. Further Affiliates will need to ensure that parents adhere to this condition of leaving the venue at the conclusion of their section and prevent the event from being shut down.
It is imperative that any participant and spectator who displays symptoms MUST NOT attend the venue. If you feel unwell, do not attend the venue. Do a rapid antigen test or PCR test immediately if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild and even if you are fully or partially vaccinated. After your test you should self-isolate at your accommodation until you receive a negative result, even if you are fully or partially vaccinated.
Any person who is subject to an isolation order MUST not attend the venues.
Each Affiliate will be allowed to have two Affiliate Coordinators. The Affiliate Coordinators must be the same person for the whole weekend. One will always need to be on site to aid in dealing with any issues with their Affiliate.
We would ask that you advise us of your affiliate coordinators no later than Monday 24th January 2022.
Given the pressure to deliver the event under the Arrive Play and Leave Protocol, team nominations WILL NOT be accepted, without meeting the required referee compliance. In 2022, given the restrictions placed on the event due to the impact of COVID-19, there cannot be any flexibility in this area.
Given the need to adhere to a mitigation plan to reduce risks of transmission opportunities and with the event to be played under the Arrive Play Leave Protocol, Affiliates WILL NOT be permitted to have their traditional marquees on site.
There will be the ability for Affiliates who have entered teams in the 18’s which will be played in a block of games rather than sections to have a small marque no more extensive than 6×3. Small pop ups for the Affiliate coordinators will be allowable should they be requested. Strict adherence to 1:2sqm rule must be observed. The NSWTA will advise where both these exceptions can be placed.
Management of Numbers
In managing numbers on the venue at any one time to following will apply. For U/12s – U/18s – teams will be limited to 18 persons maximum. This is 14 players and 4 team management. For U/10s – teams will be limited to 16persons maximum. This is 12 players and 4 team management. If a team is carrying a medical person, this person MUST be counted in these numbers.
The COVID-19 Addendums to the playing conditions, will be in force for the event.
NSWTA Medical Personnel
Given the need to adhere to our risk mitigation plan along with the Arrive Play Leave Protocols, the NSWTA Medical team will only be treating in-game injuries. They WILL NOT be available pregame strapping or preventative treatments in 2022.
Affiliates should ensure that all pre-game treatments are performed offsite prior teams arriving at the venue dressed ready to play.
Food vendors as per previous years will be present. Both venues will have canteens operating.
As we are still working through the current situation with both LGAs any further logistical adjustments and or changes will be advised.
We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the State, NSW Health, the Office of Sport and Sport NSW. We will communicate any future recommendations, changes to COVID-19 Safety Plans or Public Health Orders that impact on our sport.