Return in mid-June being eyed

Sport Otago is looking at a return to the playing field in the middle of next month and is urging all involved to sign up to a contact-tracing system.

The move to Alert Level 2 today will not bring a total return of community sport. Sport NZ has advised no games — in the major team sports anyway — can be played because of the limit concerning social gatherings.

From today, sports can train and play subject to the combined number of players, coaches and officials not exceeding 10 and appropriate physical-distancing guidelines being observed. But New Zealand Rugby said late yesterday no actual training could be allowed.

It is hoped sport at community level will get the full go-ahead on May 25.

Sport Otago business and development Michael Smith, who is co-ordinating the response to the Covid-19 pandemic for sports organisations in Otago, said the plan was for no sport to start in Otago until June 13. The major issues facing sport were around contact tracing and health and cleaning.

The use of an app, which would record all who came to a ground or arena for a game, was a simple and easy way to help with contact tracing.

The gathering rules apply to players and spectators separately.

Cleaning and disinfecting equipment has to be thorough and the five territorial authorities around Otago will be looking to have blanket standards. A guide for sport organisations on cleaning is being developed.

Smith said it was hoped no formal competitions would start until June 13 so all the systems were properly in place and working.

Dunedin club rugby officials are meeting next week and are eyeing a June 20 kick-off with the season going into late September.

In Southland things are less clear. Some sports are organising tracing systems while others waiting for national guidance. It is hoped sports may have a common starting date.

■The contact tracing app can be found at

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