ACT Sport Minister Yvette Berry says the government will work with clubs and competitions to reboot sport and drive participation after fast-tracking return to play dates.
Contact sports will be free to resume full training from June 19 and round one of competitions from July 10. Non-contact sports, including netball, hockey, tennis and baseball can start their season next weekend.
It's a major boost for weekend athletes who have been unable to train or play and gives teams a target date to aim for as an incentive for players.
Small crowds will be allowed to attend and canteens will be free to reopen, giving officials clarity about how they will manage their game days in the coronavirus world. Some senior-level men's and women's teams are concerned about players losing interest and funding, with some already withdrawing from top-level competition.
"We've got to keep an eye on it, that's for sure. And we'll work closely with the community and social clubs about the big campaign to get people back to what they were doing before COVID-19," Berry said.
"I've been seeing different stories across different age groups and different sports where people had already registered and are maintaining that ... some hadn't registered yet so clubs are asking them to register.
"We will keep a close eye on it and ask the sports community about how we can help to promote club and team sports again to get people back in."
WHAT'S A NON-CONTACT SPORT?
Berry said the decision to define contact and non-contact sports were made by evaluating rules of individual sports. "Netball in the rules does not allow for incidental contact, whereas basketball and rugby league do," Berry said.
"The best thing for you to do to find out if your sport is full contact or low contact is to get in contact with your particular sports."
Athletics and swimming will be free to start competitions again, while golf and tennis have been free to play in groups of fours or doubles for the past month.
Hockey is aiming for a July 10 start-date for senior competitions, with juniors to follow on July 23. Teams have been able to train in small groups over recent weeks, but they will be free to start full-contact training from midday on June 19.
All players will be free to train during the same session, with the group limitations lifted to 100 people for indoor and outdoor activities pending appropriate space at venues. Circuit training at gyms will also be restarted.
WHAT ABOUT CONTACT SPORTS?
Rugby league, rugby union, AFL Canberra and Capital Football have been targeting July 18 as their competition start dates and that will now fall into line with the government restrictions.
Basketball ACT has been registering winter teams in anticipation of relaunching its competitions, while some junior soccer will start next weekend.
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"We spoke to the clubs to check their intentions ... this doesn't disrupt the messaging they've been putting out," Berry said. "They're very keen to get back to training to prepare for that."
CAN I WATCH?
Crowds of 100 will be able to gather pending available space, but families will be encouraged to limit attendees to help club volunteers manage coronavirus restrictions. Canteens will be open and change rooms can be used, but there will be restrictions around service and cleaning of facilities.
The crowd sizes could be increased when the ACT moves to stage three of the COVID-19 recovery plan, which is likely to be in mid-July. Limited numbers of fans will be able to attend professional sporting matches, but grassroots sports could face different restrictions because it will be hard to police numbers without ticketing enforced.
The service of alcohol will be limited at professional sporting venues and could be the same for grassroots clubs. "It's about how it would be managed," said Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
"How you manage the service. It's not an absolute decision at the moment, but it is a risk point. In the end, people would probably watch sport live without a beer if they can. It's not to say it's an absolute, but it is a high risk point. If you have 5000 people queuing for a beer, that is a problem."
HOCKEY LOCKS IN RESTART PLANS
Hockey ACT will start what is expected to a full season when sporting restrictions are eased on July 10, confirming their senior competition resumption with juniors to follow on July 23.,
"I am really pleased, excited and relieved to be able to confirm start dates for the 2020 hockey season, said Hockey ACT boss Rob Sheekey. "The health advice has improved dramatically in the last three weeks and that is to the credit of the ACT Community as a whole for the sacrifices they have made over the past three months. There are so many positives of community sport and we are really pleased to be able to offer a relatively full hockey season. A month ago that seemed highly unlikely, so we are very grateful."
The season will be extended in spring, with mid-week games added to the calendar to compact the schedule. "We are pleased to offer a very full and well-rounded calendar of hockey that will appeal to the broader community, not just regular membership," Sheekey said. Meanwhile, Netball ACT will start its State League season on July 17 and social competitions could be brought forward after the government changed sporting restrictions on Friday.