Events/Play Update

TTI today issues the latest update on the Return to Play Protocols, following revised guidance by Sport Ireland.  In accordance with the ongoing relaxation of Government of Ireland restrictions, additional flexibility is now in place regarding space usage and hall numbers.  TTI Protocols should be referenced for guidance around the sport, training space, venues and facilities, etc, while broader Government policy documents should be referenced regarding implementation of ‘pod’ and capacity restrictions.  Please note that pod/capacity restrictions will continue to be eased in accordance with the laid out Government schedule, however, out of an abundance of caution, additional protocols regarding hygiene, masking, distancing and capacity requirements, including for upcoming activity, will remain on in some format in the short term, per Sport Ireland guidance.

Due to the ongoing restrictions, the 2021 Junior Classification and Senior Classification tournaments will not take place, while it is hoped to reschedule the DL Senior Open to some time after Christmas.  The 2021 National Championships will take place on 23/24 October, under the age eligibilities in place for the 2020/2021 season, to ensure that players are not overly negatively impacted by a late National Championships.  2021/2022 age restrictions will take effect following the National Championships.  It is hoped that a ‘regular’ season will then resume, with the next domestic event, the Ulster Open, scheduled to take place at the end of November, with Ireland teams due to take part, in November, in the Home Nations Championships, which will take place in Scotland.  The National Championships entry form will issue this week.

Our National Senior Squads have already resumed activity, with the National Para Squad set to resume on Sunday 26th September and the National Junior Squad on Saturday 2nd October.

Following the removal or relaxation, in late October, of most remaining restrictions, it is expected that most leagues, competitions and other activities should be able to resume reasonably close to normal.


Return to Play Update

In the absence of revised guidance or direction regarding resumption of indoor sports events, TTI competitive activity remains suspended and the National Championships, proposed for August, will not now take place before September.
The situation regarding the 2021/2022 Calendar will be kept under review, however, it is reasonable to assume that there is now a likelihood of a delayed start to the 2021/2022 season, and a consequent knock on effect on what/when tournaments will take place.  It is anticipated that some dates of events will now have to be amended, and some events may be cancelled.

On foot of revised guidance received this week from the Department of Sport and Sport Ireland, permissions remain in place for normal Club training in accordance with TTI protocols, however Summer Camp activity is not permitted under this revised guidance and Summer Camps should not go ahead.  This has impacted on the resumption of training for our National Junior Squad.

TTI have been actively representing our members at every opportunity, including at meetings and contacts with Sport Ireland, with the Department of Sport and the Minister, and with the Federation of Irish Sport, and have been forthright in advocating for the full return of our members and our activities, as in other sectors, and in a manner fully aligned with good practice as contained within our existing protocols.  Following various meetings involving National Governing Bodies of indoor sports, the Federation of Irish Sport and the indoor NGBs will next week be meeting again with representatives of Sport Ireland to explore options, and have separately agreed a more focused and proactive approach in the event that next weeks meeting does not satisfactorily progress matters.  In any case, and in the event that our other actions do not meet with more short term success, we are advised to prepare for an Autumn return of indoor sport.  We will be seeking greater clarity on the precise time frames involved in this advisory.

Behind the scenes, the work of the Association has never been busier, and we remain grateful to our staff and volunteers for all that they are doing during ever more challenging, vexatious, and stressful conditions.  We sympathise hugely with our members, and especially our junior players, who have had so much taken from them in terms of competition, practice, development and experiences, and hope that we may be moving towards, at least, the beginning of the end.


Management Committee Return to Play Update June 2021

In accordance with the relaxation, by the Government of Ireland, of COVID restrictions, additional clubs and players will, from 7 June 2021, be permitted to return to play in a club/training environment.  Clubs/players based in Northern Ireland have already been availing of the relaxation of restrictions in their jurisdiction, while our National Senior Squads have been back in their halls for some weeks. 

Sport Ireland has confirmed that individual training can take place and has accepted that a minimum of two people is required for there to be any meaningful participation.  With that in mind, Sport Ireland has advised that individual, physically distanced and non-contact activity can take place within a pre-defined area, within a controlled environment and without equipment sharing (e.g. balls and bats).  This should be applied in conjunction with the additional protocols laid out in the TTI document. 

In alignment with the return to play, and on foot of discussions with Sport Ireland, Version 5 of the TTI ‘Return to Table Tennis – Club/Training Environment’ is now being issued. 

There are a number of changes to the Protocols, including; 

  • Revision of ‘requirements for participants’ to include vaccinated and recovered persons; 
  • The spacing distance between tables has increased to 2.5 metres; 
  • The inclusion of the requirement for cleaning and ventilation to be in accordance with the Government of Ireland ‘Work Safely Protocol’. 
  • Clarification that players should not overlap between different groups of individuals using a hall at different times of the day – in practical terms, this means groups of individuals should start at the same time and finish & leave at the same time, rather than some players spending the entire day and/or multiple sessions or training slots in a hall, thereby overlapping with many other individuals.  Specifically, players should not be able to book into a hall for a full day or for an extended period across back to back or multiple sessions.  The purpose of this requirement is to limit exposure of an entire Club, or large numbers within a Club, due to one or more person(s) overlapping with multiple groups of individuals over a whole day or part of a day. 

We would like to remind everyone to be mindful of an overly accelerated return to play, and the risk to injury caused by extended layoff; but otherwise, to relish the opportunity to play again! 

Please note that, while there is some general permission to return to play, the restrictions involved may still prevent the return of some clubs/groups/individuals, while individual clubs or facilities may themselves decide to apply additional restrictions or guidelines to who can train and what facilities may be used.  Personal circumstances may also dictate what conditions are acceptable to individuals, who should make the decision around returning to play which best suits their own circumstances. 

Download the Return to Play Protocols below:


Update on Return to Table Tennis Framework

Following a review of the guidance issued to all national governing bodies, we have amended our “Return to Table Tennis” Framework document.

The main amendments are as follows:

  • Guidance on “Individual only” training
  • Guidance on “One to One” training between a participant and coach

In all cases, space and activity should be managed in accordance with the TTI ‘Return to Play’ Protocols, which has been ratified by Sport Ireland and the COVID-19 Expert Medical Group. Clubs and individuals should be aware that they may be subject to additional local, travel or jurisdictional restrictions


Table Tennis Ireland Update on Return to Table Tennis Framework

Since the Republic of Ireland has moved to level 5 restrictions, we have been in communication with Sport Ireland in relation to the Living with COVID 19 plan and framework. These guidelines allow only individual training activities (other than for professional and elite sports).

The current restrictions adopted by the Northern Ireland Executive state “private sports clubs may remain open for individual training only”. Again, there is an exception for elite sports.

Therefore, it is the policy of Table Tennis Ireland that table tennis may not be played other than individual training which is one person practicing on their own. We request that all branches, clubs and members observe this guidance.

While our head office remain closed, our staff are continuing to work from home and remain available to answer any of your queries by email.

Copy of Table Tennis Ireland News copy

Update on Table Tennis Activity

The Events Committee has decided that the competition calendar will be suspended until 2021. Gatherings of players for events continues to be suspended, no competitive tournament or league activity can take place. 

The Committee will be working with the Branches to identify suitable alternative dates for affected Provincial Opens, however the outlook into 2021 remains dynamic, and the situation may for some time continue to be unpredictable.

Subject to restrictions, the situation regarding National Squad activity and Camps will be reviewed again in November, to evaluate the possibility of some limited resumption, before the end of the year, in this area.

The Association will also be organising additional online development modules over the next number of weeks, details of which will be issued in advance.

The situation for Clubs/individuals is as per the TTI Return to Table Tennis Framework, but may also be subject to additional local, travel or jurisdictional restrictions.  Most leisure facilities will be closed in accordance with their limitations under national guidance, and the TTI Protocols or Framework do not supersede such directives.  Any table tennis ‘businesses’, open access facilities, or pay as you play facilities, are also bound by national guidance, limiting commercial activity to specific sectors/companies and categories of worker, and as such should also be closed.  Limited individual activity may take place, in accordance with general governmental guidelines, and only on condition that all necessary hygiene, distancing and facility based protective measures are taken, however all participants should err on the side of caution, subject to the limitations of the space in which they are practicing.  Players should only train or exercise in their own Club, and should not be participating in activity in different Clubs.

As previously stated within TTI Return to Play protocols, all guidance around resumption/continuation of sporting activity is provided for  volunteers and staff whose health circumstances and demographic places them at low risk of infection.  As previously advised, personal or local circumstances, conditions and facilities, including regarding higher dangers of levels of contagion and transmission, and/or the physical layout of particular premises or facilities, may be such as to indicate a longer suspension of activity for certain localities, groups and individuals, according to those specific circumstances.  Individuals, or groups, who consider themselves to be ‘at risk’ should, regarding any future return to activity, make the decision which best suits their circumstances and take the precautions they believe are most suitable for those circumstances.  Thus, the current period of restrictions may be extended by clubs or facilities, according to their circumstances.

As indicated, the situation remains unpredictable, and will be kept under ongoing review.

Copy of Table Tennis Ireland News copy

Competition/Activity Update 18 September

Table Tennis Ireland update on the latest round of restrictions issued by the Government of Ireland. On foot of guidance due to be issued today, Friday 18 September, the Senior Classification event scheduled for this weekend, 19/20 September, has been postponed.

The TTI Season Calendar, due to be issued this week, will not now be issued until a later date.  While it is hoped that most of the outline season structure can be retained, this postponement is likely to have an impact on the scheduling of the next proposed domestic events, the Junior Classification and DL Open tournaments.

Further details will follow as soon as possible regarding rescheduling and, where necessary, regarding any specific additional local guidance relating to the revision, arising from relevant government restrictions, of any TTI training and practice protocols.

It remains critical that all clubs and members continue to adhere as closely as possible to the TTI ‘Return to Table Tennis – Club/Training Environment’ Protocols, as well as to updated guidance and direction provided by the Board, including, inter alia;

  • the necessity for the lead Coach/Committee member to take the lead on maintaining hygiene standards in the club environment, rather than leaving it to players; 
  • the necessity, other than in a squad setting, to restrict players from playing multiple sessions across different time slots on the same day, mixing among different groups of players; and
  • the necessity, other than in a controlled National Squad or Regional Squad setting, to prohibit players from playing or training in more than one Club or training location or among players from multiple Clubs.

It is critical for the reputation of the sport that all members, and specifically the responsible ‘COVID-19 Officer’ in each Club or Squad, take responsibility for implementing the protocols and guidelines.

The TTI Protocols and additional Board guidance, as well as existing ‘Phase 2’ or other local restrictions, remain in place for all clubs and provinces throughout the island of Ireland.  Additional limits will now also generally apply to clubs based in Dublin, in line with the ‘Phase 3’ restrictions announced by the Government of Ireland.  Clubs, coaches, responsible Committee and players should update themselves on TTI protocols and general DoH/HSE guidelines; on the restriction levels contained within ‘Phase 2’ or their equivalent; and, where appropriate, on the new limits and restrictions contained within ‘Phase 3’ of the ‘Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021’ Plan.

Copy of Table Tennis Ireland News

Events Update 17 September

TTI continues to monitor and consider relevant COVID-19 developments, announcements and restrictions, and continues to engage with Sport Ireland regarding ongoing and proposed sporting activities.  The Association continues to plan for the Senior Classification event this (19/20 September) weekend, however the situation is constantly evolving.  Further information will follow, as soon as possible, regarding any confirmed details, and/or regarding any necessary changes to the scheduling or format of the event.

Copy of Table Tennis Ireland News

Return to Play Update

The Board takes this opportunity to thank the Management Committee and office team for their invaluable work in this area over the last several weeks. Whilst there are positive indications regarding ‘return to play’, the Board and Management Committee continue to believe that a cautious approach should be adopted.

Therefore, National and Provincial Squad activity may recommence. However, inter-club activity, training, or competition, is not encouraged. Indeed it is discouraged. This is to reduce the risk of cross contamination. It is, therefore, recommended that members not travel between clubs and clubs should not allow non-members access to their facilities. 

Where such movement is unavoidable, or in an official National/Provincial Squad context permitted, all necessary protocols as laid out in the ‘Protocols’ document should be followed.

When return to play in a club/training environment recommences, individuals and clubs are responsible for assessing their own circumstances and risks. Some members may choose not to return until later than the general population.

While competitions and league play remain suspended for now, planning for their recommencement has begun. The Management and Events Committees are continuing to monitor the situation and are considering a return to competition in late August, possibly with the deferred 2020 National Championships.  We hope this can be achieved, but of course, nothing is certain, particularly given the recent news on Covid-19 increasing in the younger population.

The Board notes and welcomes the recent permission granted by Sport NI for a limited return to play, in a club/training environment, for clubs based in Northern Ireland.

Further updates will be posted as information becomes available.