College sport is set to return in Easter Term as Team Durham have outlined their plans to get “as many people back involved in college sport as possible.”
Outdoor sports teams are conditionally set to return to training from 26th April, with a programme of fixtures starting on 3rd May. Fixtures will be scheduled on weekends throughout exam season and until 20th June.
This applies to all outdoor sports, even those which do not ordinarily run during the final term.
Indoor sports, such as squash, badminton, futsal, and basketball, must wait until at least 17th May before resuming indoor training, as government rules prohibit indoor household mixing until at least that date. There will also be the provision for these clubs to begin to train outdoors before this date. Team Durham hope to provide an indoor sporting programme in the second half of Easter Term.
A ‘Test to Participate’ policy will be enforced for students if they wish to participate in Wider Student Experience activity throughout Easter Term. Students wanting to participate in college sport will be required to test negative for Covid-19 twice a week.
In an email, Team Durham President Christopher Lennon told club captains, “My motivation [is] to try and give the best possible experience to all our students, especially our finalists with their memories of Durham sport at its peak and first years who have yet to experience this amazing part of our University.”
What the return of each sport will exactly look like is unclear, but it is likely that teams will play in mini-leagues. Palatinate has learned that men’s football is likely to return in leagues of roughly four teams, while the Floodlit Cup for each college’s top-ranked side also potentially returning. However, larger events such as the wider cup competition for all sides will not return.
Currently, the Festival of Sport is planned to begin on 23rd June, with discussions taking place with individual sports over rules around the participation of DU athletes. Usually, there are limits on the number of DU athletes that can compete in college sport, but Team Durham are looking “to ensure as many DU athletes can access sport in Term 3 as possible.”
All plans are conditional on the continuation of the current roadmap set out by the government, as well as its support of students returning to university campuses for the start of Easter Term. Any decisions taken by the government or Durham University will take priority over the proposed plans for the return of sport.
Palatinate will publish more specific updates covering each sport in due course.
Image: Matt Styles