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Return to Play

This page will be updated as new information is available. Last update: 07/10/2020 



Exercise and Casual Sport

People can go outside more than once a day for exercise alone or with their household, with up to five people from outside their household providing they observe social distancing, or with their and one other household indoors or outdoors, providing members of different households follow social distancing guidelines.

Most outdoor and indoor sport and physical activity facilities can reopen if those responsible for them feel ready to do so and if they can do so safely following government guidelines.

This includes basketball and tennis courts, playing spaces like golf courses (public and private), playing fields, watersports, playgrounds, outdoor and indoor pools, outdoor and indoor gyms and leisure centres.

Team sports can also restart when each sport's national governing body has published a government-approved action plan and related guidance on playing safely.

Group sizes

While social gatherings of more than six people in England are banned, the government’s confirmed that organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue, with one exception.

From 24 September, people aged 18 and over playing indoor team sports must adhere to the 'rule of six', which means playing in a group of no more than six people.

Sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue to use this guidance, while adhering to the 'rule of six' for indoor adult team sport.

For further information and FAQ’s related to indoor team sports, please visit:-

This change does not apply to children aged under 18, and people can also continue to use leisure facilities, including gyms and pools - classes within these venues can continue as they are now. People should not go to these venues socially in groups of more than six.

Outdoor sports played formally and under government-approved guidance, plus outdoor sport and physical activity events following event-organiser guidance, can continue.

That's because these sports and activities have stringent plans in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19, and because these venues are classed as Covid-secure given the measures they’ve introduced. The importance of sport and physical activity to people’s physical health and mental wellbeing has also been recognised by the government.

In the University context

The Sports Service will work with Sports Clubs and Societies to create a "Return to Play Plan" to enable a club to return safely to activity where possible. 
Since the announcement on the 24th September the Government has confirmed that the exemption applied to under 18 sport is extended to include formally organised sport run by Universities. The Sports Service is working with affected sports to offer guidance and is reviewing this on a club by club basis.                                       

Sports Service Process for Return to Play:  

Clubs to communicate intended start date for activity 
Government and National Governing Body permit activity (either at full or reduced capacity) 
Club risk assessment(s) in place for:
        - Activity (including transport)
        - Facility (if external) 
Sports Service review of documentation 
Sports Service Sign off  
Review date 2 weeks after activity has commenced to ensure compliance with guidance and receive feedback from the club regarding how the restrictions are impacting the club
Please get in touch with the Sports Service via if you are planning any activity over the Summer Vacation.  

Webinar Slides 

Thank you to those that attended the webinar on the 25 June 2020. The slides can be found here.

Supporting Handbooks 

Club are encouraged to review the below handbooks. 


Safety@Sport Addendum Covid-19 - UPDATED 



Frequently Asked Questions - Linked to Webinars 

Q. Will the Sports Service you be able to provide return to play guidance for sports societies? 

A. The Sports Service is happy to work with societies as well as sports clubs on a return to play plan.  


Q. Will societies require sign-off from the Sports Service to get started as well? Or is that with the Proctors? 

A. We want to help and support sports clubs and societies across the University to returning to activity where possible, so all will need a final sign off from the Sports Service in conjunction with the Proctors.  


Q. Our National Governing Body has provided plans for Return to Play, do we just follow these?

A. Largely, yes, however clubs need to consider their local environment and how the guidance can be implemented. It may not be possible to adapt all the new restrictions on activity to your club setting, which may mean you cannot return to play as quickly as you had hoped.


Q: Do sport societies also need to do the new selection/ safety policy etc? And can we also participate in the welfare officer training? 

A: Only Clubs that register with the Sports Service need to complete the new policies for registration, however, societies are welcome and encouraged to use the resources available to support their operations.  

Welfare Officer training is extended to all societies. Please contact Callum O’Shea for more details. 


Q: What are the current guidelines on holding foreign trips later in the academic year? 

A: Currently we are necessitating that clubs do not plan trips abroad. This will be reviewed on a regular basis and any changes in guidance communicated to Clubs. Guidance will be driven by University and Government policy.  


Q: What is the best way to travel to training and fixtures?  

A: Walking and cycling in groups of no more than 6 remains the best way to travel to training and fixtures.  

Where team travel is required, the guidance of travel companies must always be followed as social distancing on larger vehicles may be required. Please contact Callum on for further guidance. Coach travel represents the safest method of travelling to away fixtures and events as passengers are able to socially distance. Our main supplier, Cambridge Tours, have taken a number of additional precautions to ensure safe travel for passengers.  

If using private vehicles or car hire please follow the guidance below as a minimum;  

You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to do this, try to:  

o share the transport with the same people each time.  

o keep to small groups of people at any one time.  

o open windows for ventilation.  

o travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow.  

o face away from each other.  

o consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle.  

o clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products - make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch.  

o ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering. 


Q: Can we play and organise fixtures against local teams from within Cambridgeshire? 

A: Where NGB guidance permits and the Sports Service have signed off clubs for a return to competitive play, clubs can play local fixtures. However, we do ask that clubs where possible (with the exception of organised leagues) avoid fixtures in the first two weeks of term and limit travel. If you wish to organise fixtures please get in touch with the Sports Service (email  

For the duration of October, we will not permit fixtures against other Universities.   


Q: Can we play and organise fixtures against teams from around England and host events?  

A: We are asking university clubs not to organise large events which would involve travelling large distances and mixing with people from outside of the University. NGBs will have guidance available in this area if it is permitted.  The Sports Service will  not support such events at our facilities during Michaelmas Term. All clubs need to be aware of local restrictions and we prohibit clubs to travel or host fixtures from teams in areas of local lockdown. 

If there are some specific circumstances that you may need an exception to this guidance please contact  


Q: Are Varsity fixtures included in the event and fixture advice?  

A: Yes! At the moment Varsity events are not able to go ahead, this will be kept under review and where University and Government advice allows, we will work with clubs to help run a successful and safe Varsity event.  


Q: if there are changes to our NGB guidelines, or government guidance, do we need to make a new risk assessment 

A: This will depend on the guidance, but it may be the existing version of a risk assessment can be amended, however training may need to be paused to allow time for this to happen depending on the change in guidance. Please contact and we will be able to advise.   


Q Did gym membership get extended automatically and if yes by how long? I.e. if a student had a 12 months student membership normally running until the end of this month, is this still running into the new academic year?  

A: Although the facility opened on Monday 27th July, Direct Debit payments did not restart until September, meaning no charges were made between April and August 2020.  

For members who have paid in full, we have extended the end date of all memberships by 167 days automatically. That’s 132 days of closure plus the rest of July and August for free.  

We understand that an extension applied immediately may not be suitable for everyone. As a result, if you wish to defer your membership extension to make use of that time at a later date, please email your request to or visit 

We have relaxed our membership terms & conditions to allow all users to apply for a membership freeze. This freeze is currently set to a maximum of 6 months but will be kept under review. 


Q: What is the best way to share equipment? 

A: This will depend on the type of equipment; if it cannot be sanitised, it should not be shared however It could be shared and quarantine for a minimum of 72 hrs but were possible this should be avoided. 

For equipment that can be cleaned and therefore can be shared, please refer to your NGB for specific guidance.  

Best practice is to reduce sharing of equipment as much as possible. We would advise clubs to loan equipment for the duration of a term if feasible.  


Q: What is the advice if a college is reluctant to host matchdays for college sports fixtures? 

A: Colleges may have good reason for not allowing fixtures and this should be respected. Where appropriate the Sports Service can work with colleges to help fixtures return. Please get in touch via should you need support.  


Q: Can all or some of the approved Uni Club RAs be made available on the Moodle page? 

A: Yes, we will make some of the approved RA available as soon as possible.   


Q: What's allowed for clubs that span multiple colleges? 

A: Where sports have been approved for a return to play steps have been put in place to reduce the COVID risk, so teams from multiple colleges are allowed.  

However, sensible precautions should be taken, where possible clubs should group college members together and as always sport specific guidance, social distancing, and good hygiene should be followed at all times.