Author: Andrew Craven

An infield softball.

Temporary SL League Suspension

The Softball Ireland (SI) Medical Committee were made aware on Sunday August 8, 2021 that a player in the SL region had received a positive test for COVID that morning.

Softball Ireland understand the player and family are doing well at this time and on behalf of the membership wish the player a speedy recovery in the coming weeks.  

Softball Leinster sought guidance from the SI Medical Committee on the application of the updated COVID RTPP which was issued to the membership in May 2021.

Following notification of the positive test, the SI Medical Committee reviewed games played by the relevant player 7 days prior to Positive test. Following review of all the relevant information and in accordance with the SI RTTP, the SI Medical Committee, SI Board and Softball Leinster (SL) Committee agreed that:

  1. All teams considered as contacts of the positive test would be stood down from all Softball activities for a period of 14 days from the date of the positive test;
  2. All Leinster Softball League games would be be suspended for 2 weeks, to return on August 23, 2021;
  3. Teams may train within in their respective team bubbles, however there should be no friendlies or multi team training;
  4. The Dublin IOST event scheduled for August 21, 2021 is postponed to September 2021.

The SI Medical Committee have subsequently had the opportunity to review updated government advice and the restrictions around item (1) above has been amended to:

  1. * All teams in the club of the player receiving the positive test are stood down from all Softball activities for a period of 14 days from the date of the positive test. All other teams may train in accordance to restriction (3).

Softball Leinster, the SI Medical Committee and SI Board continue to monitor the matter and will update the membership as further information becomes available.

We appreciate that players are disappointed with the joint Softball Leinster and Softball Ireland decision to temporarily suspend the leagues but the health of our members is our number one priority and we hope that this quick circuit break will prevent further spread and play will return without risk to the community.

We encourage all players and teams to adhere to the rules to protect each other, allow the sport to return quicker and prevent further spread in the community. 

The rules set out at the beginning of the season call for the shutdown of the whole region’s league. This is due to the possible mixing of players between premier league and rec league and also the weekend competition.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank teams and players for maintaining the RTPP rules which have allowed so many games to have been played already this year and remind members to maintain social distance in dugouts, Umpires to wear masks and that members do not go to into other team dugouts when games return.

Thank you for your patience and continued support.

Updated Return to Play Protocol

Softball Ireland have updated the Return to Play Protocol to version 3.2. To view the protocol you can follow this link: http://www.softball.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/si-rtpp-v3.2.pdf or visit the COVID-19 Hub using the menu above. The FAQ section of the COVID-19 Hub has also been updated today, with more information on what events are permitted in both ROI and NI.

The significant changes in Version 3.2 of the Return to Play Protocol include:

  • Spectators now permitted at events, provided social distancing is adhered to
  • Tournaments can now have more teams participating, depending on the number of diamonds available
  • Cross-border travel is now permitted, provided a lateral flow test is performed and negative prior to travel

For the full details of the changes, please refer to the RTPP.

For all COVID-19 related queries, you can email covid@softball.ie for more information.

Updated Return to Play Protocol

Softball Ireland have updated the Return to Play Protocol to version 3.1. To view the protocol you can follow this link: http://www.softball.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/si-rtpp-v3.1.pdf or visit the COVID-19 Hub using the menu above. The FAQ section of the COVID-19 Hub has also been updated today, with more information on what events are permitted in both ROI and NI.

For all COVID-19 related queries, you can email covid@softball.ie for more information.

Updated COVID-19 Hub

Softball Ireland is pleased to announce that the COVID-19 Hub has now been updated for the 2021 season. The COVID-19 Hub is accessible from the ‘Resources’ tab above or by clicking here.

The latest updates to the COVID-19 Hub include:

  • Updated Return to Play Policy for 2021
  • A Risk Assessment Template that can be used and modified by the teams
  • A Risk Assessment Guidance Document to explain how to risk assess your team’s activities / venues
  • A status table outlining what events can happen where

The COVID-19 Hub will be updated regularly throughout the season, including document updates and FAQs. If there is anything you would like to see on the hub, please get in touch with us.

Due to government restrictions, please note that teams in the Republic of Ireland continue to be restricted from training or playing games and the insurance policy remains suspended.

For all COVID-19 enquiries, Softball Ireland continue to have a dedicated email: covid@softball.ie.

Ulster Teams coming together at a summer tournament.

Happy Birthday Softball Ulster

This week, on the 31st March 2021, Softball Ulster celebrated its 13th birthday. Established in 2008, SU has now grown to become the second largest regional association of softball on the island of Ireland. Current Softball Ireland President Colum Lavery signed Softball Ulster into being during his previous role as SI Secretary – you can view the original letter below, shared by Andrew Craven the current Chairperson of SU. The first Chairperson of SU was Carrie Trundle, who worked hard to earn recognition for the Ulster teams and bring SU into being.

In 2008 the SU League only featured three teams: the Smokin’ Aces, Aviators and Brawlers. In 2021 the SU League has expanded to feature six teams, which still includes two of the original three: the Smokin’ Aces, Brawlers, Sliders, Cubs, Angels and Bucs. At its largest, the SU League included a total of eight teams. Notable teams over the years include: the Aviators, Jets, Braves and Mariners.

If you want more information on the history of Softball Ulster, or the sport of softball in general, why not visit their website at: www.softballulster.com!

The original letter that signed Softball Ulster into existence
Calendar

Softball Ireland Provisional 2021 Calendar

Softball Ireland are pleased to announce the provisional calendar for the 2021 season. You can use the interactive calendar below to view the dates for Softball Ireland, Softball Leinster, Softball Ulster and European Championships. Please note that although tournaments are being scheduled for 2021, these are subject to COVID-19 restrictions and may not go ahead given the restrictions in place at the time.

Home plate with a bat, balls and helmet.

Return to Play Protocol

Softball Ireland are pleased to publish their Return to Play Protocol. The Protocol aims to help clubs and players return to the game of softball during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information will be updated as required on the ‘Latest COVID-19 Information‘ area of the website.

Please note that the Return to Play Protocol is a living document, and will updated as and when government advice changes. Please pay careful attention to the version number and date of publication.

Return to Play Protocol v1.0 (Published 26th June 2020)

Return to Play Announcement

The Softball Ireland Board having noted the recommendation of the Medical Committee have confirmed that clubs based in the Republic of Ireland may return to training with effect from July 4, 2020 and return to games from July 20, 2020 subject to meeting criteria.

The Return to Play protocol and requirements together with registration details and an update on insurance will be published on the Softball Ireland Website by no later than June 26, 2020.

Softball Ireland are delighted to be in a position to announce and confirm the return to play dates and see people back on the field of play, however, please note that the Softball Ireland insurance policy (and in particular the Public Liability part of the policy) remains suspended until July 4, 2020. Should any player or small group of players participate in any Softball activities prior to July 4, 2020 they do so at their own risk and are fully liable for any injuries / damage to other participants, third party bystanders or property.

An infield softball.

Return to Play Update

Softball Ireland note the announcement from the Irish government today that all sporting activity in the Republic of Ireland can resume from 29 June, the format of which is at the discretion of the National Governing Body. The Softball Ireland Medical Committee will meet in the coming days to assess today’s government decision and provide further recommendations to the Board about the possible acceleration of the Return to Play Date.

Softball Ireland wish to remind teams and players of the following:

– The suspension of all formal team/club organised Softball activites (incliuding training) on the island of Ireland remains in place until July 20, 2020.  This must be strictly adhered to.

– The Softball Ireland insurance policy (and in particular the Public Liability part of the policy) remains suspended until July 20, 2020. Should any player or small group of players participate in any Softball activities prior to July 20, 2020they do so at their own risk and are fully liable for any injuries / damage to other participants, third party bystanders or prorperty.   

Please do not hesitate to contact Colum Lavery should you have any questions on the matter.

Return To Play Timelines and Update

It is a pleasure to write to the Softball Ireland membership in the knowledge that we will be returning to play in a few short weeks. Since the difficult announcement to suspend all Softball in Ireland on March 12, 2020, the Softball Ireland Medical Committee and Board have worked constantly to develop a pathway and ultimately a protocol to allow those who wish to play softball in 2020 to do so in a safe environment and in-line with health and governmental advice.

Softball Ireland are pleased to confirm that the Return to Play Protocol which has been developed by the Medical Committee is working its way through the consultation stage. Subject to no major issues or changes in public health advice, it is anticipated that the protocol together with the approved 2020 rule variations will be issued to all Regions, Clubs and Players on June 25, 2020 with a Return to Play date scheduled for July 20, 2020.

On behalf of the Board and the Medical Committee, I wish to re-emphasise the following very important points:

  • The suspension of all formal team/club organised Softball activites (incliuding training) on the island of Ireland remains in place until July 20, 2020.
  • The Softball Ireland insurance policy (and in particular the Public Liability part of the policy) remains suspended until July 20, 2020. Should any player or small group of players participate in any Softball activities prior to July 20, 2020 they do so at their own risk and are fully liable for any injuries / damage to other participants, third party bystanders or prorperty.   

So much has happended in Ireland and across the world in the last number of months and our thoughts are with any of our members impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Softball Ireland would like to thank our members who have worked on the front line in essential roles to keep us safe and our economy going.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on the above email or process.

Softball Ireland Return to Play Timeline
Home plate with a bat, balls and helmet.

Softball Ireland Return to Play Framework

Softball Ireland are fortunate to have two doctors on the Board, representing North and South of the border respectively, as our medical committee. Following the most recent public health advice from the HSE and the NI Executive, they have presented initial return to play timelines to the Board. Following receipt of feedback from the regions, the Board have approved these as our national framework. The committee will now consider detailed return to play protocols (including playing rules), while the Board works with the regions on challenges such as insurance costs, field availability and competition structure. 

1. Seek to reactivate Softball Ireland insurance as of 20th July 2020.

2. Teams may train from 20th July 2020 provided insurance is in place, no more than two teams are present at the diamond and the Softball Ireland return to play protocols are adhered to.

3. Games may commence from 1st August 2020 provided insurance is in place, no more than two teams are present at a diamond and the Softball Ireland return to play protocols are adhered to.

4. No tournaments will be sanctioned in 2020, including BWC, IOST, SINCC, and club/national tournaments at home or abroad.

5. Team captains must submit electronically a list of attendees at training or games, within 24 hours, in line with HSE contact tracing requirements, for 6-week retention.

6. SI will make a final decision on Softball Ulster activity after the NI Executive publishes timelines for their recently published roadmap.

Expected return to play timeline
Expected Softball Ireland Return to Play Timeline

This position is subject to change as further information is made available to the public by the HSE and NI Executive. Final decisions on when games will be played, competition structures and fees will be set by Softball Ireland and the regions, subject to this framework and the SI Return to Play Protocols (TBA) being adhered to. The Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocols will be issued no later than the 30th of June 2020. Any questions to secretary@softball.ie.

Softball Ireland Constitution Review

The Softball Ireland Board would like to take this opportunity to review our governance, including the constitution and regulations. We are setting up a working group for this purpose, but would also like invite thoughts from all members. Please see attached our current constitution (with the 2018 & 2019 AGM changes marked as tracked changes), our current regulations, the proposed changes from the 2019 AGM which were not progressed following the COVID-19 cancellation of the EGM, and a form to submit ideas. This consultation period will be open for three weeks until Sunday 7th June. The working group will propose changes to the constitution at the next EGM/AGM. We will also be taking the independent report shared at the AGM, and Sport Ireland guidelines, into consideration.

View the SI Constitution

View the SI Regulations

View the Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Download the Consultation Response Document

Send all completed responses to secretary@softball.ie by Sunday 7th June 2020.