In line with UK Government guidelines allowing elite sport to resume, the British Handball Association (BHA) Board has taken the decision for its Great Britain national teams to return to training from the end of October, where circumstances allow.
The resumption of activities comes almost eight months after they ceased due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
A ‘cautious’ approach to training will consist of an ‘opt-in’, phased programme initially of single day sessions in October for UK-based players, with no overseas-based players returning. Any players opting not to attend will not be impacted in future selection decisions.
The return to training programme will be reviewed in November after the first few sessions have taken place.
The BHA has also produced a ‘Hygiene Concept’, effectively a master document with guidelines for the sessions, and which will be expanded as the situation evolves and the training programme moves to new phases – for example; training or competitions abroad and overseas players returning.
In addition, a BHA Protocol document will be circulated to players and coaching staff, giving details and guidelines for training sessions within the programme. The first sessions will follow the UK Government Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) guidelines on a phased return.
The BHA Board appreciates that the situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and can change at any time and will keep a close eye on any developments, therefore, GB players and coaching staff should remain flexible with their arrangements.
An online video call will take place between the players and coaching staff of each of our six teams to outline the steps being taken and to further stress that this is an opt-in programme for all.
Returning to training before Christmas is particularly important for our three men’s squads, who all face international competitions in January 2021. The M18 and M20 squads will be playing in their respective EHF Championships in Latvia and Bulgaria, while the senior men will participate in the 2024 EHF Men’s European Championship Qualification Phase.