George Wood, Swim England Sport Development Director, says he understands the frustrations of water polo players but the guidance had to be carefully developed to ensure everyone’s safety. “The past few months have been a whirlwind and it is difficult to believe that lockdown started when we were looking forward to the climax of the British Water Polo League season.”
Since then, a Swim England Review Group – including Mr Wood and Toby King, Swim England WP Leadership Group chair – have drawn up guidance for pools in consultation with Public Health England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and campaigned for facilities to open.
Mr Wood added: “We know there are issues with some pools remaining closed for financial reasons, meaning some clubs are not able to get back into the water just yet. However, we are doing everything we can to try and get those facilities the necessary support so all of our clubs and members can once again enjoy the sports they love.
“In the meantime, we are looking at the conditions by which ‘competitive recreational activity’ can take place – in particular, competitive training and match play where social distancing may need to be breached . . . As water polo is an indoor, contact sport, we will need to identify the mitigations that minimise Covid-19 transmission risk pre, during and post-game.”
The British League were recently in contact with George Wood, offering our support in future negotiations and expressing member clubs’ concerns that “water polo at all levels could soon be left isolated without strong and knowledgeable dialogue on its behalf.”