COVID-19 Protocols

All netball in the UK is required to be played using certain rule modifications - full details on this England Netball Stage 4 video.

There are also numerous COVID risk mitigations in place, detailed below, which must be adhered to by all participants.

  • Lucy is the COVID-19 Officer for Islington Netball and the league restart has been risk assessed. If you would like to see a copy of the Risk Assessment or Risk Mitigation Plan, please let Lucy know.


  • If any changes to fixtures need to be made, these will be communicated to captains with as much notice as possible. Due to the ever changing situation of COVID, there may need to be some changes to scheduled games.

  • It will take a big effort from all participants at Islington Netball, players, umpires and management, in order to ensure we can continue to play safely. We thank you in advance for your help and cooperation with these new measures.

Before Playing:

  • All players and umpires should understand the risk involved in participating in netball activity. Although all steps have been taken to ensure the safety of all involved, participants attend at their own risk.

  • Certain people are more at risk to COVID-19, the England Netball website details who those people might be and gives some advice.

  • Captains must ask players to “opt in” to the new season and be aware that some people may still not feel comfortable to play.

  • Prior to each game (before players make their way to the courts), captains must check that no one in the team is experiencing any of the symptoms. 

  • Umpires must also confirm with Lucy that they are not experiencing any symptoms before attending.

  • If any player or umpire is experiencing symptoms, they must not attend the game and should follow government guidance on self-isolating.

  • In addition, if anyone has COVID symptoms, has tested positive for COVID or has come into contact with anyone who has tested positive, please let Lucy know ASAP.

  • If you have previously contracted COVID, take your doctor’s advice to ensure you are properly recovered and well enough to participate.

  • Captains are responsible for keeping a record of who is playing in games for Track and Trace purposes. If you have a fill-in, make sure you make a note of their name and team name.

On Arrival:


  • Arrival times: early - 6.35pm, mid - 7.20pm, late, 8.05pm

  • All players and umpires must follow Government Guidance in terms of travel to the courts.

  • Please arrive ready to play, at the above time (5 minutes before the game starts).

  • There will be a one-way system in place at the courts - indicated by signs - and everyone will need to enter through the gate nearest to Highbury and Islington station, and exit through the gate closest to Highbury Barn.

  • Please wait outside the entrance and complete your symptom check before entering the courts.

  • Each team will have an assigned area to put their bag down and prepare for the game.

  • Check the sign by the entry gate for the location of your “team bench”. This will be indicated
    by the Highbury Fields Layout Map. On the whiteboard your team will be indicated as either
    “home” or “away”, which refers to your team bench area.

  • You will need to wait until the previous game has been completed before entering the courts to maintain social distancing, and walkways must be kept clear at all times.

  • Everyone must ensure any personal possessions such as water bottles are clearly labelled or identifiable.

  • All players and umpires must bring their own sanitiser and sanitise their hands prior to the start of the game, during breaks, and afterwards.

  • Teams must supply their own bibs and wash between games. We suggest buying two sets of bibs as they cannot be shared between players.

  • Balls and posts will be sanitised prior to the first game of the evening and sanitised throughout (see below).

  • Wipes, gloves and bin bags will be supplied and stored in the “Home” team benches for cleaning balls/posts.

Start of Game:


  • Umpires will ask captains to confirm if the team has any fill-ins playing in the game.

  • Nail checks will take place from 2m distance, and the coin toss will also take place from 2m distance and players should remain socially distanced for any pre-match team talk.

  • There should be no pre-match huddle or 'hands in'.

  • No spectators are allowed inside the courts.

During Play:


  • After the first quarter, the Home captain will wipe down the ball or nominate someone from their team to do so. This will be repeated at half time, 3/4 and at full time. Umpires will remind the team to do this during each quarter break.

  • If any post is touched during the game, it must be wiped down immediately - the umpire will stop play and the Home team captain/vice-captain will wipe down the post or nominate someone from their team to do so.

  • In between quarters all players must return to their bench and sanitise their hands while the ball is sanitised.

  • The following are not permitted under England Netball Guidelines: shouting or cheering, quarter or half time huddles, high fiving.

  • Water bottles and whistles should not be shared.

  • In the event of an injury, the first aider should wear gloves and a mask (supplied in the kit bag) and follow St John’s Ambulance guidance.


Rule Modifications:

Modifications are as follows:

  1. 4ft spacing for the start of play – GS and GK are required to start inside their respective goal circles, GA, GD, WA and WD on the transverse line and the centres in the centre third. The modification requires all players to position themselves a minimum of 4ft away from their opposing players and teammates at the start of play. This will be managed by umpires at the start of play.

  2. 4ft marking – the defending distance has been increased from 3ft to 4ft. Particular attention must be paid in the circle when defending or waiting for a rebound under the goal post. This will be blown as distance. This applies when face to face, and marking within 1m is permitted provided you are not stood still or face to face. 

  3. 4ft position of penalised player – penalised players for major infringements are required to position beside the player they infringed but from a distance of 4ft. This will be managed by umpires when an infringement occurs.

  4. Removal of Toss Ups – No toss ups are permitted, the team who had the ball directly before the action that caused the toss-up to be awarded will retain possession. The umpire will briefly hold time, instruct the ball to be returned to the relevant team and play will be restarted on the umpire’s whistle.

  5. Removal of idle interactions – Players not engaged in play or stood still are required to be positioned 4ft away from another player. This frequently happens on the circle edge, on the transverse line, whilst walking back to centre pass and returning to the team bench at the end of a quarter. Managed by umpires and supported by players and coaches.

Despite the changes, the modified games still looks and feels very much like the version we know and love. Contesting for the ball is very much permitted providing players are involved in the phase of play. 

After Game:


  • Post-match hug circles or handshakes are not permitted at the end of the game. Players should ensure social distancing is maintained at all times after the final whistle.

  • Umpires will share the scorecard digitally with Lucy and remain socially distanced from all players when noting down Player of the Match.

  • Captains are not required to sign the scorecard, they should verbally confirm with the umpires that they acknowledge the final score.



  • Management, players and umpires are all responsible for following and enforcing the new protocols and rule modifications. Please support and remind your teammates and fellow participants throughout the evening.

  • If any players are found to be in breach of these guidelines, they will be given a verbal warning and reminder to adhere to the protocols. Any persistent or serious breach in these protocols may result in players or teams being asked to leave the league as per the Code of Conduct.

  • In the event that games cannot be played due to a local lockdown or other restrictions, the season will be suspended for a maximum of four weeks. If the restrictions last longer than four weeks, the season will be shortened. Any weeks that are not able to be played will be refunded to teams.