COVID-19 Sports Calendar
When will sports return?
All information is correct as of 5th February 2021 but is subject to change.
This page will be updated regularly.
Our latest update includes the start of the Guinness 6 Nations, SuperBowl LV and additional cancellations in Irish sport
One of the things we are missing most from our daily lives during the latest COVID-19 restrictions is sport.
Whether that is a weekly game of 5-a-side with friends, taking training with the U-10 camogie team or sitting down at the weekend to watch the Premier League and Heineken Champions Cup, any fan will agree that the suspension and disruption of sport has left its mark.
As the global sporting calendar continues to shift and change, Core Sponsorship wants to keep you up to date with the latest news about the biggest sporting events.
We also want to ensure that you don’t miss a minute of what is potentially going to be an action-packed next 12 months in the sporting world. To do that, we’ve created a calendar which contains info on all the major sporting events until the summer of 2021 and beyond
Public Health Guidelines & Government Advice Pertaining to Sport
The government has announced a new midterm roadmap for living alongside COVID-19, organised into 5 phases of severity, with different levels restrictions at each phase. The guidelines relating to sport in each phase are as follows:
Phase 1: Up to 500 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor sporting events in a venue with a minimum capacity of 5,000, while up to 200 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor events in smaller venues. 100 spectators will be allowed to attend indoor sporting events. Specific guidelines will be developed to deal with attendance at large scale national & international events. Training sessions can take place as normal indoors and outdoors, with protective measures in place. Gyms, leisure centres and pools can operate with protective measures.
Phase 2: Up to 200 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor sporting events in a venue with a minimum capacity of 5,000, while 100 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor events in venues with smaller capacities and 50 spectators will be allowed to attend indoor sporting events. Specific guidelines will be developed to deal with attendance at large scale national & international events. Training can take place outdoors in pods of up to 15 people, with exceptions of professional, elite & inter-county athletes and senior club championship teams. Indoor sessions can take place in pods of up to 6 people, with the same exceptions allowed. Gyms, leisure centres and pools can operate with protective measures.
Phase 3: No sporting events will take place, with the exception of professional, elite & inter county sport, as well as senior club championships and horse racing. All sport will be behind closed doors. Non-contact training can take place outdoors in pods of no more than 15 people, with exceptions for professional, elite and inter county athletes and senior club championship teams. Indoor training sessions will be on an individual basis only, with gyms & leisure centres open on the same basis.
Phase 4: No sporting events will take place, with the exception of professional, elite & inter county sport, and horse racing. All of these will be behind closed doors. Non-contact training can take place outdoors in pods of no more than 15 people, with no exceptions. Indoor training will be on an individual basis only and gyms/leisure centres will be closed
Phase 5: No sporting events will take place, with the exception of professional, elite & senior intercounty sport, and horse racing. All of these will be behind closed doors. Training will be on an individual basis only, whether indoors or outdoors, with the exception of school-aged children, for whom non-contact training can continue outdoors in pods of no more than 15. Gyms/leisure centres will be closed
The entire country is currently under Phase 5 restrictions until at least March 5th
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has announced ‘unprecedented’ funding for sport in Ireland, with the sector set to receive €85m as governing bodies continue to face the challenges posed by COVID-19. The GAA, LGFA, Camogie Association, IRFU and FAI are set to split approximately €62m of the funding
In line with the latest public health guidelines, the return of inter-county training has been suspended. This delay in a return to squad training is likely to see a knock-on delay in the National Leagues for the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association. Latest reports suggest that no intercounty activity is expected until the beginning of March. The GAA has confirmed that it will reconvene in mid-February to make a decision on when to return to intercounty activity and have committed to a four week window for training & preparation before any games are played
The GAA has approved a compacted schedule the 2021 football & hurling seasons, with several measures in place to limit the impact of COVID-19. Preseason competitions in football and hurling are set to be done away with, with the Allianz National Leagues scheduled to begin at the end of February, though this will now be pushed out due to the delayed return to training for intercounty squads. Each division in the Football Leagues will be split into two sections, with the split focusing on geographical proximity to avoid unnecessarily long journeys. The Hurling Leagues are not expected to see much change. The Leagues will aim to be completed in early April. In football, the 2021 Tailteann Cup, a new second tier competition, will be played amongst Division Three and Four teams from the Allianz National Leagues who lose in their provincial championships. The All Ireland Championships are scheduled begin in April, with no Super 8 format in football but a return to the back door format done away with this year, as well as a return to the round robin format for the provincial hurling championships. The All Ireland Football Final will take place in the third weekend in July, with the Hurling Final coming a week earlier. The remainder of the year would then be devoted to the club game. The draw for the 2020 Provincial Championships have been postponed
TG4 has announced that it is to show deferred games as well as weekly highlights from the Women’s Australian Football League for the first time. The coverage continues on Saturday 6th. 14 Irish players will feature across the league this season
The 2021 SSE Airtricity League of Ireland season is due to begin on March 19th, with the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League season getting underway a week later. A support package of €3.6m has been announced to support League of Ireland clubs across the season
The 2020/21 Premier League season continues this weekend, running to a condensed schedule with the aim of finishing the season in May 2021. The Premier League has announced that, due to a poor uptake from fans, the previously announced PPV model for games not already televised in the UK by Sky or BT Sport has been scrapped. In its place, all Premier League games until further notice will be broadcast in the UK, across existing broadcasting partners including the BBC. A selection of the game shown on Amazon Prime in the UK will be shown on Premier Sports in Ireland
The Premier League has announced that it will be trialing the introducing of permanent concussion substitutes for all games from February 6th. Teams will be allowed up to 2 concussions subs, in addition to the existing 3 standard substitutions, and the trial will also run in the Women’s Super League, the EFL Championship and the FA Cup
Ireland’s World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign begins next March. Ireland have been drawn in a group with Portugal, Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. To allow them to prepare to host the tournament, Qatar will also take part in Ireland’s group in a non-competitive capacity
The men’s European Championships, due to take place across 12 host cities, has been pushed back until June 2021. Despite reports which suggested that the entire tournament would be moved to Russia, UEFA has recommitted to its multi-host approach
The African Cup of Nations, due to take place in January 2021, has been rescheduled for January 2022
The Guinness 6 Nations gets underway this weekend, with Italy vs France and England vs Scotland taking place on Saturday 6th, while Ireland will travel to Cardiff to face Wales on Sunday 7th. The games will all take place behind closed doors, with the French team having received special permission to travel to Ireland & UK to play matches, despite high infection rates across these countries. Virgin Media will carry full coverage of the tournament in Ireland
It has been confirmed that the Women’s 6 Nations has been rescheduled for April and will run to a curtailed format for 2021. Deviating from the men’s tournament, the teams will be split into two pools, each playing one home and one away game before playing the team with the corresponding finishing position from the other pool in play off matches. Ireland have been drawn in a pool with Wale and France and will kickstart their campaign on the weekend of April 10th with a trip to Wales. However, World Rugby has confirmed the indefinite postponement of the European qualification tournament for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup, due to take place in New Zealand next October. Ireland were due to take part in the qualification tournament alongside Scotland, Italy and the winner of the postponed Rugby Europe Women’s Championship
The U20 6 Nations has been rescheduled for June and July, with the initial 5 game schedule for each team to be accommodated in a shortened 3 week window
The IRFU has confirmed the cancellation of the 2020/21 Energia All Ireland Leagues for both men and women, as a result of the extension of Level 5 restrictions across Ireland. In addition, the women’s interprovincial series will now not take place until 2021/22
PRO14 has confirmed that the 12 teams currently taking part in its 2020/21 season (Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian teams) will take part in a new tournament, the Rainbow Cup, from April of this year. The Rainbow Cup will see these 12 teams, as well as South African teams the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions, divide into two pools of 8, which each side playing all teams in its pool once. The teams who finish top of their pools will then meet in a final, scheduled to take place in June. The 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season will conclude with a final between the top teams in its two conferences in March.
The format for Heineken Champions Cup 2020/21 has been altered as a result of a ban from French authorities on travel between France and the UK, meaning that games in the pool stages could not be completed. In place of the final two rounds of the group stages, and the planned two-legged quarter finals, latest reports suggest that the top 8 in each pool will qualify for a last 16 knockout round, with the quarter finals reverting to single game ties. The proposed changed in format would allow the tournament to be completed on schedule with the final in Marseille on 22nd May
The 2021 Lions tour to South Africa is still set to go ahead as planned this summer, with the first of three tests to be played on 24th July. However, the chief executive of South Africa Rugby has warned that if fans are unable to travel and that games are held behind closed doors that the tour would not be financially viable. It has been reported that Rugby Australia has made an offer to host the series in the country, given its strong control of COVID-19, though this offer is likely to be rejected
In line with new government restrictions, all meetings will take place behind closed doors, with only essential personnel on site
The Dublin Racing Festival takes place this weekend in Leopardstown, with 8 Grade 1 being run across the two day festival. RTÉ will carry live coverage of racing on both Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th
Athletics Ireland has confirmed the cancellation of the National Indoor Championships, due to take place in the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown on February 20th and 21st. However, the governing body has secured Government permission to host a ‘micro meet’ for invited high-performance athletes in the same venue on the same dates. It will provide those invited to compete in a COVID-19 restrictions compliant event for European Indoor Championships qualification purposes and for World Ranking points for Olympic qualification
Basketball Ireland has confirmed the total cancellation of its 2021 season, accepting that Return to Play protocols previously set forward for a truncated season could not go ahead in current restrictions
Under current Level 5 restrictions in Ireland, all golf courses are now closed
The Ryder Cup, due to take place in September 2020 in Wisconsin, has been postponed until 2021 to allow the possibility of fans attending the event. This will have a knock-on impact to the Ryder Cup set to be hosted in Adare Manor, which will now be scheduled to take place in 2027
Augusta National has announced that it plans to have a limited number of fans in attendance for the 2021 Masters in April
The PGA and European Tours have announced a new ‘alliance’, whereby the PGA Tour will buy a minority stake in the European Tour media company and PGA Tour Commissioner will take a seat on the European Tour board of directors. It is the latest step in what golf experts believe will be an eventual merger of the two major men’s tours
Tournament organisers have confirmed that up to 30,000 fans per day will be allowed to attend the Australian Open 2021 when it gets underway on Monday 8th. That number will reduce to 25,000 for the latter stages of the tournament, when there are fewer matches schedule and fewer courts in use but the 30,000 figure amounts to 50% of typical attendance. Up to 500 players and tournament staff were placed into quarantine until they returned a negative test after they were deemed close contacts of a hotel worker who tested positive for COVID-19
SuperBowl 55 will take place on Sunday 7th in Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and reigning champions the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL has announced that it will have 22,000 fans in attendance at the Superbowl, including 7,500 healthcare workers who will be gifted tickets. The SuperBowl will be shown live in Ireland by Sky Sports and the BBC
A shortened 72 game NBA regular season got underway in December, with an aim to begin the Playoffs in May
There is growing concern that the Tokyo Olympics, rearranged for July, will now not be able to take place. The latest statement from the IOC states their commitment to running the games as planned