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Tennis Ireland forced into U-turn after announcing courts would remain open under Level 5 restrictions

All activities must now be suspended after a new statement from the governing body.

A general view of Shankill Tennis Club re-opening to members on 18 May.
A general view of Shankill Tennis Club re-opening to members on 18 May.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Updated Oct 22nd 2020, 12:50 PM

TENNIS IRELAND HAS been forced into a U-turn with all activities now suspended, following last night’s confirmation that outdoor courts could remain open under the new Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.

The change of plan comes after communication from Sport Ireland this morning.

“Following a communication this morning from Sport Ireland, Tennis Ireland, notwithstanding to its communication yesterday evening, must unfortunately now ask all member clubs to suspend all activities (including all junior coaching programmes) in the Republic of Ireland with immediate effect,” a statement from the governing body reads.

“The Department of Sport Expert Group is meeting this morning to finalise Level 5 protocols for sporting organisations and once these protocols have been issued to Tennis Ireland,  we will communicate further with member Clubs.

“Tennis Ireland understands the difficulties and disappointment that this instruction will pose for players, coaches, club volunteers and staff but the challenge caused by Covid-19 impacts across all sectors of society and sport and we need a nationwide effort to fight it.  Tennis Ireland will, as it always has done, work closely with Government and Sport Ireland to reopen our sport as soon as possible, even on a restricted basis, in as safe a manner as possible.

“Tennis Ireland would like to thank Clubs, their members and coaches for the work that has been done over the last number of months in providing much needed exercise and safe, socially distant enjoyment to communities across Ireland.

A statement from the board of Tennis Ireland last night outlined its plans as Level 5 kicked in at midnight, with outdoor courts set to stay open for the purposes of exercise, restricted play and non-contact training for school children.

The national governing body noted that only gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools must close, as it interpreted from government guidelines.

But now, all tennis activities will be suspended.

Last night’s statement is below.

x Source: Tennis Ireland.

x2 Source: Tennis Ireland.

The news comes after the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) announced yesterday that golf clubs will close under Level 5 restrictions.

With the exception of elite level competitions in rugby, soccer, GAA and horse racing, sport is set to shut down once again for the next six weeks. People across the country have been instructed to exercise within 5km of their homes.

While tennis courts and golf courses both closed for the original lockdown period, they re-opened in May.

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Emma Duffy

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