The GAA has today contacted counties to offer an update on the latest developments around the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, reiterating there is no decision on which competitions will take place in 2021. 

The association also clarified that the expected 12 April return to training in Northern Ireland did not apply to inter-county panels, who remain barred from collective sessions.

The official letter from director general Tom Ryan and new GAA president Larry McCarthy, began by thanking members for their ongoing patience in relation to the continued enforced delay in the resumption of GAA. activities.

"2021 has already felt like a long year without any on field activity to sustain us," the document stated.

"However, the reality of the pandemic and the continuing spread of the virus means we are likely to have to persevere for a little longer before anything like our normal level of activity can resume.

"It is expected that the Government in the South will publish any proposed changes to the current restrictions by the end of next week and we will communicate again with our clubs and counties at that point in terms of the implications for GAA activity.

"In the interim, we would again reiterate that the GAA have not decided on what competitions may or may not be facilitated in any revised national fixture programme for 2021.

"As we have stated previously, such decisions will be a factor of how much time is ultimately available to us, both for an inter county season and for the broader participation levels that will be necessary for a meaningful club season at both adult and underage levels."

The GAA said that there is also plenty of hope that with the availability of vaccines and the roll out of the inoculation programmes north and south of the border, a summer filled with Gaelic Games activity lies ahead.

"In the meantime, we await the upcoming government announcements and will continue to communicate regularly with all units.

"We also request that you keep yourself updated with all communications given the fluid situation that we now find ourselves operating in.

"Finally, we want to remind you all of the importance of personal responsibility for our actions in relation to Covid-19 as we work together to ensure the safety of everyone in our community."

With regard to clubs in the six counties, the document referenced recent proposed changes to regulations north of the border which have significant implications for clubs in the six counties.

The GAA confirmed that a review by the NI Executive will be held on the week of 5 April and presuming restrictions are then eased as proposed, the following activities will be allowed from 12 April onwards for Clubs only in Northern Ireland.

  • Training at adult and underage levels in groups of up to 15 people only, including coaches (full contact) is permitted
  • Use of dressing rooms or other indoor facilities is not permitted for the moment (exception: essential toilet facilities)
  • Clubs should refer to and abide by the Gaelic Games Return to Play Document – an updated version will be circulated to all Clubs ahead of April 12th
  • Particular care is advised in planning for travel to and from training – i.e. only persons from your own bubble should travel in the same vehicle
  • Games are not permitted until further notice
  • Use of other indoor facilities – such as bars, kitchens or meeting rooms – is not permitted under the current regulations
  • Outdoor Handball facilities may be used for Handball training
  • Astro Turf facilities may be used by non-GAA bodies, presuming health guidelines are followed in relation to maximum numbers of 15
  • Walking tracks on GAA property may continue to be used
  • Other outdoor events, such as drive-in bingo or fundraisers organised by our clubs and which involve people gathering in groups of more than 10 people are not permitted

The document added that that above provisions relate to club activity only.

"Collective inter-county training sessions are not permitted for any age group in either jurisdiction and breaches of this can and will be dealt with under Rule 7.2 (e)."

A a further two-month extension of Injury Fund cover has been ratified by Coiste Bainistíochta.to take the 2020 cover term up until 31 May.