Author: Andrew Craven

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.

New Softball Ireland website in 2020

Updated Softball Ireland Website

You may have noticed the Softball Ireland website undergoing a makeover over the last couple of weeks. The Softball Ireland Board are pleased to reveal the new-look website, which we hope you will find easier to navigate with improved content and features to help members and non-members alike.

New Softball Ireland website in 2020
New Softball Ireland website in 2020

Some of the updated website features include:

  • an improved and simplified navigation menu.
  • more prominence for the regional leagues in the navigation menu.
  • more visibility for all teams and clubs affiliated with Softball Ireland.
  • Areas for ‘Slow Pitch‘, ‘Fast Pitch‘, ‘Indoor‘, ‘Coaching‘ and ‘Umpiring‘, which will have up-to-date news and resources available.
  • An updated and simplified ‘Tournaments‘ area for the website.
  • Greater integration with our social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Some of the new website features include:

  • A new ‘Find a Softball Club‘ area, to help new members find clubs.
  • A new ‘Resources‘ area, putting all SI documentation in one place.
  • A new ‘Softball Ireland Committees‘ area, updating the membership on what committees and working groups are meeting.
  • An event list in the side bar, showing all upcoming SI events.
  • A direct link to ‘Softball Ireland TV‘, our YouTube channel, on the home page.

To improve the website experience for new and existing members, Softball Ireland would like to include photos and content from all teams in Ireland. If you have any interesting photographs that could be used, or any burning suggestions for content, then feel free to email webmaster@softball.ie and these will be considered for inclusion.

COVID-19 Update from Softball Ireland

The Softball Ireland Medical Committee is currently assessing the recently published HSE guidelines on the phased reopening of Ireland and the impact this will have on our sport. As Softball is an all-island sport, the proposed return-to-play roadmap will require finalisation following discussion of the UK Government’s planned announcement this weekend.

We are aware of our members’ eagerness to open the season as soon as possible, but we must balance that with the safety of everyone on the field. Consideration is being given to the most up-to-date medical evidence, the best practices of other national Softball Federations and the ever-evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic.

Softball Ireland’s proposed return-to-play roadmap will be reviewed by the Softball Ireland Board at its May 14th Board Meeting and announced on May 15th.

Website Maintenance

Please excuse us here at Softball Ireland as we make the most of a bad situation and take some time to upgrade and update our website. You may have noticed some changes already taking place, with more changes to come in the near future. Some links may be broken, or content missing, but we will have this back shortly.

In the mean time, if you want your fill of Irish softball, can we direct you to our new YouTube channel, Softball Ireland TV, where you can watch classic league and tournament games from across the Softball Ireland network.

Softball Ireland TV

To get you started (because I can), here are the Smokin’ Aces playing the Sliders in Belfast in Summer 2019.