Dear MTTTL Club Secretaries and Players
I hope that you are all continuing to keep safe and well during the Covid 19 Emergency that has affected all of our lives. Whilst I appreciate that table tennis continues to be low on your priorities at the moment I thought you would like an update from the League.
As you know, we have held off holding the AGM and planning for the start of the 2020/21 season until the general position about table tennis was clearer. Table Tennis England (TTE) has been working with the Government and Sport England on a series of stages through which it is anticipated that table tennis activity outside of the home will be able to resume as follows:
· Stage 1 – Play and exercise at home and limited outdoor play
· Stage 2 – Limited club activity
· Stage 3 – Preparing for localised competition (where we are now)
· Stage 4 – Local competition resumption
· Stage 5 – Full play and spectating in place
Things are now progressing and Stage 2, limited Club activity, was reached and implemented from Saturday 25th July; some Clubs have already started providing practice evenings. Following the successful re-opening of indoor sports facilities, TTE moved to Stage 3, preparing for localised competition, from Monday 27th July. TTE has set a target date of 1st September to resume local league competition. There is, of course, a fair way to go before we actually get the green light under Stage 4 for local competitions and leagues. TTE will be looking to share more detailed guidance for local competition resumption by the end of August.
In preparing for Stages 3 and 4, TTE had prepared a series of guidance documents, including risk assessment templates, to help clubs and leagues to plan for resumption. These documents, plus more information on the path to resumption, can be found on the TTE website at https://tabletennisengland.co.uk/news/archived/coronavirus-update/. It goes without saying that this is an ever-changing situation and TTE advice may change at short notice. For that reason I have not attempted to reproduce any guidance here as it may already be out of date. We strongly recommend that you check the website regularly for the latest advice.
In conjunction with venue management, all Clubs/Teams will now need to start thinking about venue and player availability and how they will be able to return to playing. It would be a good idea to start to go through the mechanics of this (including a risk assessment and the procedures and methodology to be adhered to) for your venues or use of your venue now. It may be that separately managed venues have already started this process and you are urged to check. There is very detailed advice from the Government, Sport England and TTE (see above link) to guide you every step of the way which should ensure that if Clubs are able to put something in place it will be Covid 19 compliant and maintain social distancing. There are certain restrictions on playing areas and Clubs are, once again, urged to check that their venue can be made Covid 19 compliant. In all matters, the health and wellbeing of all our members and volunteers remain the key priority for TTE and the MTTTL at this time of uncertainty and change. If you have doubts about your venue please let Gary Hentschel know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EC is planning for a start date to the new season of the 5th or 12th October 2020 with the usual registration meeting taking place some two weeks beforehand. In conjunction with the finalists, it is anticipated that the outstanding final of the 2019-20 Charles Stampe Trophy will be played as a season opener. It is impossible at this stage to plan the new season with any certainty until such time as we have up to date information of likely Club and Player involvement. Before we can go ahead with planning the new season, which will involve a lot of work for all of us, we will need assurances about Club and Player availability. Part of the reason for sending this note to you all, is to ask the following questions - please ensure you fully canvass your squads for their answers as well.
1. Do you intend to enter your Club into the MTTTL for the 2020-21 season?
2. If yes, are you confident that your venue will be available and fully Covid 19 compliant?
3. If yes, how many teams/players do you intend to enter?
4. If you intend to enter team(s), and using last season as an indicator, what strength [of team(s)] do you intend to enter?
Please note that, with a view to encouraging players to start playing again when we emerge from the lockdown, the EC has decided that all MTTTL registration fees and County fees will be waived for the new season. This will also apply to any fees for tournaments or championships that the EC may arrange and to the Development League. Players must still ensure however, that they pay their own TTE fees. It is imperative that we have this information by the end of August so that we can make realistic assumptions and plans for the new season and can consult with Clubs before any decisions are reached. Responses please to Gary at the above email address.
The EC has decided that the 2020 Annual General Meeting of the MTTTL will probably be held in late-August/early September using Zoom. Each club will be invited to nominate one attendee only and in advance of the meeting. From the EC only four members will attend. Attendees do not have to download Zoom in advance of any meeting. Attendance is via an emailed invitation from Gary containing a click on link. If you have no one able to attend a Zoom meeting on your behalf please let Gary know.
Please note that, following earlier consultation, the EC has decided to revert to tabletennis365 for the provision of our website.
Please do not hesitate to let Gary know if you have any questions or comments on the contents of this letter.
And, finally……a reminder to respond to the above questions please.
Please keep safe. We will meet to play again.