News Update from the Board of Irish Squash – May 2021

Please see a News Update from the Board of Irish Squash – May 2021

 

NEWS UPDATE FROM THE BOARD OF IRISH SQUASH

The Covid pandemic has limited our access to playing the sport we all love for much longer than any of us might have predicted. Throughout the past year, an Irish Squash working group collaborated with Sport Ireland to develop and refine Covid Return to Play protocols and we outline our current plans for restarting on June 7th below. 

In addition, there are other very significant initiatives underway: a Single Platform and a new Strategy for Irish Squash with further enhancement of our Governance structure.

Irish Squash Announce Service Agreement with SportyHQ

Irish Squash and SportyHQ signed a 5 year contract in April 2021 whereby the single software platform will be rolled out to affiliated members of Irish Squash over the next couple of years.

This will take place on an ‘opt in’ basis and will be provided as a benefit of affiliation to Irish Squash. The board of Irish Squash recognises that the smart use of technology will allow us to provide an enhanced service to our members and also improve general operations within the organisation. 

A project team was established in July 2020 with Peter O’Halloran, board member Irish Squash as Project Lead and Rosie Barry, President Irish Squash as Sponsor. Several software providers were invited to tender for the contract and provided detailed demos to the project team. Testimonials from other national squash organisations generated useful insight and we are grateful to colleagues in Scotland, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Finland, Germany and ESF for their time and input. 

At NGB and provincial level, SportyHQ will allow us to manage affiliations and to introduce a player rating and rankings model. We will be using SportyHQ to run our tournaments. Clubs have the option of using the platform to manage their membership payments, court bookings and run events. Players will be able to establish their own profiles on the platform and use mobile apps for scoring matches and booking courts.

The platform can also be used by clubs and provinces to create and update their websites.

Please watch our website for updates on the roll out of SportyHQ, commencing over the next couple of months!

Members of the Project Team in Phase 1 included: David Ayerst, Mark McGugan, Gerry Galvin, Brian O’Brien, Eugene Walker, Mark Gilliland, Andrew Gillespie, Gerry Callanan, Karim Singh, Anne Costello, Niall Rooney and Paul Nugent.

We are grateful to Sport Ireland for additional funding provided to us in support of this project.

 

Sport Ireland Governance Code and new Strategic Plan for Irish Squash

All NGBs are expected to comply with the Sport Ireland Governance Code by the end of 2021.

Irish Squash established a working group to review our existing policies and introduce new ones with the assistance of solicitor Sarah O’Shea, SOS Sports Consult. A review of our board and committee structures is also underway as part of this process.

In addition, we are re-engineering our Strategic Plan and have engaged the services of Derek McGrath and John Feehan of Sport2Sport to facilitate this work. The process of consulting with our stakeholders will begin over the next 4-6 weeks. Please check our website regularly for updates and to see how you can contribute to this project.

We aim to launch our new plan in September, hopefully in tandem with the start of a season where we can enjoy competitive squash once more.

COVID-19 Update

On June 7th, solo training will be permitted on squash courts and 2 household members may train together. Coaching on a one-to-one basis may also restart with social distancing observed and mask to be worn by the coach. Players should arrive at the club in their gear as changing rooms will remain closed.

All standard Covid restrictions must continue to be observed whilst off court.

Please note that we have specifically engaged with Sport Ireland regarding Covid vaccination status and access to play:  there is currently NO variation in the guidelines for individuals who are fully vaccinated.

We await further clarification about the timeframe beyond June 7th for the resumption of ‘pod training’ and we are in the process of developing our plans to restart competitions as soon as public health restrictions allow.

Derek Ryan’s online training sessions for Irish Squash are extremely popular and will prepare many of us for returning to the court. For those who haven’t been able to train, check out Sport Ireland’s website for advice on returning to play after a prolonged absence from sport – the last thing anyone needs is an injury just as we can get back on court!

Please check our website regularly for further news updates and contact us on [email protected] with any queries.

Rosie Barry

President Irish Squash