I am delighted to say that badminton is beginning to open up again and we want you to be as prepared as possible. Since the YONEX All England Open Championships in Birmingham in March, international badminton has been paused and grassroots badminton has been at a standstill.
However, on 8th June, the elite squad began to return to training at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes in line with Government guidance; signalling a crucial first step in getting our sport back up and running safely. News of training restarting has been met with overwhelming positivity from the wider badminton community and now it is the turn of those at grassroots level, the backbone of any sport, to get ready to return.
While we still await a formal announcement from the government on exactly when and how indoor sports facilities can reopen, it did reiterate its ambition to open the sector from 4th July. We therefore want to give the badminton community as much time as possible to prepare for a return; we are extremely mindful that many of you will be involved in organising the return for your club or your players and therefore I hope early sight of our guidelines, as we know them right now, will prove helpful. And if these measures require further amendment because of the changes to Government guidelines, we will update our document and share it.
Although this signals the start of a return to normal, playing, like the rest of life, will have a new normal as measures will operate in our sector in similar ways to those that we have become used to in other sections of society.
These same measures will apply to our return to grassroots badminton and the safety of everyone involved in returning, players, coaches, volunteers, staff etc., must remain the number one priority.
We are not able to see a full return to badminton just yet, but I’m sure you will agree, the opening of indoor facilities, and the ability to meet and play with friends and family, to work with a coach, all within Government measures, is welcomed.
The latest measures may affect the number of people who can access a sports hall, they will certainly limit the number of players you can play with and, depending on who you are playing with, they will determine whether you must play singles or you may play doubles.
There are also changes to the way that sessions such as club nights will need to be managed during this time. A person will need to be appointed as the ‘Covid-19 Officer’ to ensure your session is safely managed, players will need to pre-book their attendance, and the number of players able to play together will be restricted.
We recognise that this will place some additional burden on volunteers, but we will provide guidance and tools to minimise these. As an example, we will run a series of webinars to help get clubs up and running again, and all Badminton England affiliated clubs will have free use of a session booking system. We will also provide an online tool to run ladders/box leagues for their clubs.
But most importantly we will be here to answer your questions as we return to play. So follow the link below to review the guidelines and keep checking our website for updates to our roadmap which we will continue to update in line with any changes in government guidelines. We look forward to working with you to get our game back to its rightful place in our lives.
Stay safe and best wishes,
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive