GAA suspends all club games as lockdown fears grow

The GAA’s Management Committee has today endorsed a decision to suspend all GAA club games at all levels - with immediate effect and until further notice.

This decision comes as the Government debates the recommendation of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) that the entire country be moved to Level 5 of the 'Living with Covid' plan. The Cabinet is expected to discuss the matter later today.

"The decision has been taken in the interest of public safety following a number of incidents that have been brought to our attention in recent days. In particular, post-match celebrations and a lack of social distancing at certain events have proved disappointing and problematic," said a GAA statement.

"This directive applies to all ages and all grades across the island.

"Training will continue to be permitted as per the guidelines outlined for the relevant levels in the Government's National Framework for Living with Covid-19 and relevant guidelines in the Six Counties," the statement continued.

"The GAA will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days and weeks, regarding changes in government guidelines, before liaising with our units accordingly.

"The Association would also like to acknowledge all of those units who have worked diligently in complying with the public health advice around the staging of our games and training sessions since activity resumed. More than ever, we ask that you continue with this approach where training sessions for your players are continuing," the statement added.

In addition, club social centres and bars are to close.

While the senior football and hurling finals in Westmeath and Roscommon have been played, the Offaly senior hurling decider (St Rynagh's v Kilcormac/Killoughey) was among the county finals that was scheduled to take place next Sunday. However, that final will now have to be deferred until a later date.

The suspension of all GAA club games also raises considerable doubt over plans to start the All-Ireland inter-county championships later this month. And if inter-county games do go ahead, they are likely to be played behind closed doors.

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