Sport Ireland changes rules to allow Under 18s play matches

ball under basketball ring

A CHANGE will be made to Sport Ireland guidance so that all games and competitions for indoor sports can now take place for young people under 18.

Limerick Senator Maria Byrne said, “Government today addressed the issues raised by recent confusion over Sport Ireland guidance on underage indoor sports. I’ve been in touch with parents, teachers and coaches over the past few weeks who were growing increasingly frustrated over the obstacles to getting children back playing indoor sports, in particular basketball.

“Sport Ireland previously issued new guidelines based on the Government’s latest Covid announcement. These guidelines stated that indoor sports must be limited to pods of up to six participants where the group was comprised of vaccinated and unvaccinated players.

“This effectively ruled out all matches for children under 12, as they’re currently ineligible for vaccination, and presented significant constraints on games for over 12s as well.

The new guidance will mean that the current pod system can now be adjusted to allow indoor games and competitions according to the rules of a particular sport. The use of pods will continue for training activities.

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Senator Byrne added: “Today’s announcement is hugely positive news for sports clubs across the country, but most importantly it’s a change that will really benefit children. It will allow for fuller participation across sports and will see the resumption of competitions indoors.

“The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for children in particular, as their lives were turned upside down over night. Not only is physical exercise vitally important for their health, social interaction with friends, teachers and coaches is key to the overall development of young people.”

Earlier this week, Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea said he was “inundated by parents of young basketball players” who were “really upset at not being allowed to play their preferred sport”.