Since the outset of the COVID-19 epidemic in England, the PE Board has been following UK Government Guidance and also seeking advice periodically from the Government department which covers sport (DCMS) as well as Sport England.
This is a constantly changing landscape and things can change very quickly. New restrictions can also be introduced with little notice affecting certain parts of England. It is always very important that anyone involved in pétanque activities follows the latest changes to UK Government Guidance as there may be some delay in PE updating its Guidelines.
There have been some clarifications that we have received and as a result we are issuing our latest Play Safe Guidelines which may be viewed here.
The precautions that must be followed in terms of social distancing (2 metres or if not possible, 1 metre with extra measures like wearing a face covering) and the non-handling of any playing equipment which is not personal to an individual player including boules, jacks, tape measures and scoreboards remain unchanged. The main update concerns the limits on numbers of players that can engage in the formal playing of our sport or activities associated with it such as training and coaching.
We have been advised by Sport England that there are no restrictions on the numbers of participants (players, spectators and officials) at outdoor pétanque activities and events as long as a formal risk assessment has been carried out by the venue hosting those activities (our Play Safe Guidelines contain a model Risk Assessment that can be used) and the venue where pétanque is being played has the space/capacity to ensure social distancing at all times.
These activities need to be organised by a National Governing Body (like PE), club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and take all reasonable steps to limit transmission of the coronavirus by reference to that risk assessment and all relevant COVID-19 Secure guidance. Personal trainers/coaches should follow the guidance on organising outdoor sport and physical activity events.
It is important to note that we have been advised by Sport England that the definition of a ‘club’ is not limited to those clubs that are members of a National Governing Body like PE. It is a matter for non-affiliated clubs, leagues or other organisations playing our sport to demonstrate that they are properly constituted and are engaged in ‘formal’ play and the venues where they are playing have the necessary risk assessment in place.
PE has drawn up its Play Safe Guidelines first and foremost for our affiliated clubs, leagues, regions and members. We consider our Guidelines to offer best practice and it is recognised as such by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Whilst we understand that non-members or non-affiliated clubs and other organisations can adopt our Play Safe Guidelines, it is entirely a matter for them to demonstrate compliance with Government Guidance. This is particularly important given the fines which can apply for any individual or organisation which organises informal outdoor sports activities beyond a group of 6.
Non-PE members or organisations cannot simply rely on our Play Safe Guidelines to demonstrate compliance, nor will we enter into any discussions with the authorities on behalf of non-PE members or organisations. We cannot be held liable for any acts or omissions by non-PE members or organisations playing our sport under the current COVID-19 restrictions or at any other time.
Please take this opportunity to read our Guidelines so you can play pétanque in the safest possible manner in these continuing difficult times for public health.