Latest News - Republic of Ireland

Indoor Sports Training

Following on from our communication on Friday 29th October, we have received clarification from Sport Ireland on Government Guidance in relation to indoor sports.

Option A (Mixed Immunisation Status)

Where athletes and volunteers have mixed immunity status (vaccinated and unvaccinated), pods of up to 6 athletes is permitted (excluding coaches/ volunteers).

  • Substantial social distance between individual pods is required (pods are completely separate and independent of one another).
  • EU Digital Covid Certificates certs are not required to be presented.


Option B (Holders of an EU Digital Certificate)

Where athletes and volunteers have an EU Digital COVID Certificate (vaccine or recovery certificate) full training sessions can resume without the need for pods.

  • Where all participants have a valid EU Covid Certificate training may return to full sessions.
  • No valid certificate will mean no entry.
  • Club to use to scan EU Digital Covid Certificate at each session for all attendees.
  • If EU Digital Covid Checker is not available or the club is not comfortable using it, all certificates must be manually checked and validated.
  • The Club log of session attendance will act as a sufficient record will act as a sufficient record. This list should not refer to vaccination status. Clubs must not keep copies of any certs for data protection reasons.


We recognise that each club is unique and recommend that the Club Management Team identify which option is suitable for their training session(s). 

  • It important that clubs consider the impact of Option B if a number of athletes or volunteers cannot produce a valid EU Covid Certificate. This may mean some participants may not be able to attend training It is then recommended that Option A is implemented.
  • More information on Return to Activities Protocols can be found here. Amendments are detailed on the cover page.


Outdoor Sports Training

  • Pods of a maximum 15 are no longer required.
  • Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can presently both return to club training and public health measures of 2M Social Distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitisation continues


Inter-club activities

In order to offer competitive opportunities for athletes, inter-club activities are now permitted for outdoors sport / activity only. Inter-club activities can take place between two clubs or maximum of 30 athletes (if you are considering number outside these guidelines, please contact your Regional Office. 

In addition to Special Olympics Ireland’s ‘Guide to Organising Inter-Club Activities’; the COVID-19 Coordinator / COVID-19 Activity Lead of the club organising the activity must:

  • Be familiar with SOI’s Return to Activities Protocol and Government advice
  • Review the club’s Covid-19 Risk Assessment to ensure the current control measures are relevant to an inter-club activity
  • Ensure adequate controls and procedures are in place for the activity e.g. Hand sanitiser stations, mask wearing etc.
  • Liaise with the invited clubs and inform them of control measures in place
  • Be present at the activity to monitor and provide reminders of compliance with physical distancing, respiratory etiquette and hygiene rules

Please be sure to contact your Regional Office if you have any questions.

Mask Wearing

Special Olympics Ireland recognises that the rollout of vaccinations are proving invaluable protection against COVID-19 however, the continuance of wearing masks is required by the organisation due to the health vulnerability of our athletes and the benefit of maintaining identified public health guidelines for infectious diseases.

Due to the health vulnerability of people with an ID, Special Olympics Ireland has taken the additional step of requiring mask wearing for club sessions:

  • Mask to be worn on the way into and out of the venue and when moving within the venue (unless the individual is exempt)
  • Athletes taking part in physical exercise are not required to wear a mask
  • Mask to be worn by coaches and volunteers indoors (unless the individual is exempt)
  • Recommendation that a mask is worn outdoors and must be worn where 2m distance cannot be maintained (unless the individual is exempt).