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We are pleased to update you on our current situation about the 2021 Junior State Cup. The games are on!

While we can provide this information as being correct as of this date, with the COVID-19 situation, it must be acknowledged it is also subject to change.

Current Public Health Orders (PHO) dictate that across the precincts we can have up to 3000 persons at any one time on site. (including participants, officials logistical support personnel and spectators).

While it is a real positive that the Board and staff have agreed the events can proceed, as you can understand, this still presents several logistical challenges in the delivery of the events to meet the Public Health Order.

In a normal environment, we would have 12,000 people at the Northern Conference and 10,000 people at the Southern Conference. As such we are still faced with several logistical challenges to ensure the events can proceed while meeting the requirements of the NSW Public Health Orders (PHO) and NSW Health advice. In essence, we still find ourselves in a position of having to reduce numbers on the venues compared to previous years. The good news is that 3000 people is a far better position than 500 people.

Notwithstanding this, there are also elements that will need to be monitored and managed in relation to COVID-19 clusters that have emerged over the Christmas New Year period.

We are also aware that even in the best-case scenario, that the COVID environment can change overnight, and restrictions put in place may place the events in jeopardy. A reduction in allowable numbers from the current Public Health Order in relation to community sport gatherings does represent a significant risk to the running of either venue. This does represent a situation whereby financial loses may be felt by both our affiliates participants and also the NSW Touch Association.

The key point here is the allowable number of persons on both venues and the way in which children can be safely moved on and off the venue which we might run events on.

While we have sough State Government exemption to have the Northern Conference in four discrete areas and the Southern Conference in three discrete zones, similar to that of State Cup, we have not yet had a response.

Regardless given the large number of participants at the Junior State Cup and the need to adhere to the PHO the event WILL be played under the Arrive Play Leave Protocol. Like that which was implemented for State Cup. The only difference here will be that whereby at State Cup participants had to stay in their discrete zones, participants will be able to move freely on the venue, while permitted to be on the venue.

Event to be played in Sections 

Due to the numerical considerations the format for delivery will be that which was used at State Cup. That is the days will be divided into four (4) sections. Divisions and or Pools will be allocated into a section, they will come in play up to 3 games back-to-back and leave. Currently the grid is being worked upon for both venues and once finalised we will further advise the allocated section schedules for the event.

This is based on the indications from the EOI, final nominations and the logistical requirements to move people on and off the venue safely, the traffic management plan required to accomplish this, and the ability to get games played. Games will be played as 25min turnaround. Teams in a division/pool will come onto the venue attired ready to play. Then play their matches and leave immediately.

Below is an example of an outline of how this may operate. Once finalised all will be advised of sections and timings for their venue.

Section 1                               Section 2 

Game 1 8am                             Game 1 11am

Game 2 8.30am                       Game 2 11.30am

Game 3 9.am                           Game 3 12noon

Section 1 competed by 9.25am       Section 2 Completed by 12.25pm

Section 3                                Section 4 

Game 1 2pm                              Game 1 5pm

Game 2 2.30pm                        Game 2 5.30pm

Game 3 3pm                              Game 3 6pm

Section 3 competed by 3.25pm       Section 4 Completed by 6.25pm

Teams ARE NOT permitted to have game debriefs at the fields. They must IMMEDIATELY leave the venue at the conclusion of their Section.

The only alteration to this would be for the Under 18’s, which will only have two fields. In this situation, the Boys 18’s and Girls 18’s games will be played on Friday and Saturday in blocks. As an example, the Boys 18’s teams would all come in and play possibly a morning to mid-afternoon session. These games might have a one or two-game break. There would be a cross over the period for participants prior to the Girls 18’s commencing. These teams would then come onto the venue and play in a similar format. The following day they would reverse the order of morning block and afternoon block. It is important to note that it is likely that games would extend into the evening under lights. Teams can only come onto the venue 40mins prior to the beginning of their first game and leave immediately once they play their last game of that block.

Change over

The changeover times between sections will need to be 1 hour 30 mins.

Due to the size of the venues, the need to move people off and on to ensure we do not breach the PHO an hour and a half break is needed. This is also to ensure that the traffic management plan currently being revised and discussed with the local authorities is workable. All teams and team management MUST have vacated the venue within 30mins immediately at the competition of their section games. Teams and Team management MUST not come on to the venue until 40mins prior to the commencement of their Section.

Spectators

In ensuring that we meet the current PHO regulations combined with the need to move children on and off the venue safely It will also be a one parent only spectator event. To be clear this is one parent ONLY and not one parent plus siblings. It is imperative that each affiliate clearly and concisely pass on this message to all parents. Further Affiliates will need to ensure that parents adhere to this condition to aid in assisting us meet the current PHO and prevent the events being shut down.

There have been some disappointing aspects involving parents’ unwillingness to adhere to protocols through the Vawdon Cup, Country Championships and even the State Cup when the NSWTA attempted to provide some leeway to parents on finals day. This together with the numbers to be maintained at the event, have forced our hand in this regard. It is disappointing to have to regulate the number of parents, however given the numbers involved and the PHO we are governed by, we must strictly enforce this.

Each Affiliate will be given wristbands by the NSWTA for sections to allow parents to enter the venues via the security check points for each day. Further details for this will be advised shortly. These will be colour coded to allow security and staff to identify who is allowed on the venues during these sections.

Affiliate Coordinator

Each Affiliate will be allowed to have two Affiliate Coordinators who will be deemed as part of the NSW Officials. The Affiliate Coordinators must be the same person for the whole weekend. One will always need to be on sight to aid in dealing with any issues with their Affiliate. Those affiliate coordinators who did not return their vests at State Cup are to advise us and reuse these. Those who need to collect their vest will be available from 1pm to 6pm at the venues on the Thursday prior to play. These vests must be worn at all times whilst on the venue and not slung over the shoulder or hooked into their pants.

We would ask that you advise us of your affiliate coordinators no later than 29 January 2021. A headshot photo of the Coordinator must accompany the advice.

Referees

Given the pressure to deliver the event under the PHO and the Arrive Play and Leave Protocol, team nominations WILL NOT be accepted, without meeting the required referee compliance.  In 2021, given the restrictions placed on the event due to the impact of COVID-19, there cannot be any flexibility in this area.

Team Bond

Based on experiences through 2020 representative season where Affiliates nominated teams only to keep withdrawing them, slowing the processes of getting out timely information to all affiliates, a team bond will be applied. This bond of $200 per team will be collectible on the nomination of a team being withdrawn. Should NSW be forced to remove a team due to the constraints of the event, the bond will not be payable.

Tents

Given the need to adhere to the PHO and exemption with the event to be played under the Arrive Play Leave Protocol, Affiliates WILL NOT be permitted to have their traditional marquees on site.

There will be the ability for Affiliates who have entered teams in the 18’s which will be played in a block of games rather than sections to have a small marque no more extensive than 6×3. Small pop ups for the Affiliate coordinators will be allowable should they be requested. The NSWTA will advise where both these exceptions can be placed.

Management of Numbers.

With the constraints of COVID 19 impacts, the current circumstances, PHO, and exemption requirements, the following will need to apply in managing numbers on the venue at any one time. For U/12s – U/18s – teams will be limited to 17persons maximum. This is 14 players and 3 team management. For U/10s – teams will be limited to 15persons maximum. This is 12 players and 3 team management. If a team is carrying a medical person, this person MUST be counted in these numbers.

COVID-19 Amendments.

The COVID-19 Addendums to the playing conditions will be in force for the event.

NSWTA Medical Personnel

Given the need to adhere to the PHO and exemption requirements along with the Arrive Play Leave Protocols, the NSWTA Medical team will only be treating in-game injuries. They WILL NOT be available pregame strapping or preventative treatments in 2021.

Affiliates should ensure that all pregame treatments are performed offsite prior teams arriving at the venue dressed ready to play.

Food Vendors

As the event is being played under the Arrive Play Leave protocol, food vendors as per previous years will not be present. Both venues will have canteens operating. However given the nature of the structure and operation of events at both venues, extra catering options will not be on offer in 2021.

As we are still working through the events under the current PHO with both LGAs any further logistical adjustments and or changes will be advised.

We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the State, NSW Health, the Office of Sport and Sport NSW. We will communicate any future recommendations, changes to COVID-19 Safety Plans or Public Health Orders that impact on our sport.

Best wishes and stay safe.

Dean Russell General Manager NSW TOUCH

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