As promised, please find Peter Thompson’s reply from the EIBA.
We’re desperately disappointed but determined to continue the fight as you’ll see in Howard’s response. We are most definitely being treated unfairly. Why does the two metre rule no longer apply to indoor bowling when the government’s national rules still state “Hands, Face, Space“?
How is it that people are allowed to pump iron in a gym when they’ll be expelling air at a forceful rate, folks are permitted to swim in public indoor pools (presumably ensuring that their saliva and mucus remains in their own little bubble) and we can walk around supermarkets or travel on public transport with little or no social distancing?
And yet, in our Covid secure club of seven rinks when a maximum of forty-two people would be bowling, it is not permitted.
16th December is the next opportunity for this unfairness to be addressed and that is what we are aiming at.
Over to Howard:
EIBA Response and next steps:
Firstly, my thanks to all members who have replied to the posting on the web site of my letter to the EIBA. Responses, both on the web site and those sent to me via the MidGlos office, are incredibly supportive. To have your positive and supportive comments mean so much and add to our resolve, as a Board, to not let this matter rest.
Peter Thompson the Chief Executive of the EIBA replied very quickly to my e-mail, both as a quick personal reply to log the fact he had received my letter and then slightly later with an official EIBA response. In both cases his attitude and actions have been admirable given the situation he is in.
The official response from the EIBA is detailed below:
Thank you for your email following the receipt of the English Indoor Bowling Association’s guidance on what is permitted for Indoor Bowls in the new Three Tier System, which came into effect on 2nd December.
We share your disappointment and frustration that in Tier 2 Indoor Clubs will be unable to offer their members any bowls, unless they can play with members of their same household or a single match against another member, as long as they maintain social distancing.
Furthermore, we acknowledge that for those Clubs that have implemented COVID-safe protocols to allow the return of Indoor Bowls earlier this year, why would they not be allowed to return to play as before the 2nd National Lockdown.
We have, along with other indoor sports, made representation via Sport England to allow sport and physical exercise be permitted in the higher tiers, and there has been an acknowledgment by Government that this is important to occur during the pandemic.
However, as with the hospitality sector, indoor sport in Tier 2 & 3 is seen as potential high risk, and, as such, the gathering of multiple households for a prolonged period of time is an area of concern. Subsequently, to make the infection rates fall in these tiers, the restrictions applied are to lessen the opportunities of multiple gatherings occurring.
The Government currently want a collective approach rather than allowing one sport or service to be excluded as, if this happened, others would expect their own and as a result there would be confusion and no control.
The EIBA will continue to liaise with Sport England and push for additional formats of bowls to be played in Tier 2, especially if the majority of the Country remains in this level, rather than moving to Tier 1 and the ‘rule of 6’ for all indoor sport.
We hope that the levels of infection across England continue to decrease and that Gloucestershire returns to Tier 1 at the earliest opportunity.
Please continue to keep safe and well.
Obviously not the response we would have preferred to have received, but an understandable one, and a clearer vision as to what the EIBA, and other indoor sports, are having to contend with.
So, the protest goes on and now we plan to move above the EIBA with actions about which I have already informed Peter Thompson; actions he has not asked me from which to desist!
Janet, in her reply, suggested contacting the Minister for Sport (Nigel Huddleston), a route we had actually already planned should the letter to the EIBA not produce the result we all wanted. However, it is not just the Minister for Sport we will contact. We are also contacting his boss the Secretary of State for Culture, Digital Media and Sport (Oliver Dowden). Copies of those letters will also be put on the web site so you can see how we are approaching this higher level.
What we are also going to do is to contact key media personalities such as Evan Davis and Nick Robinson (Radio 4), Laura Kuenssberg (BBC TV) and Robert Peston (ITV). The gist of the conversation with these people is to ‘suggest’ an ambush question for use at the end of an interview with key politicians. A seemingly simple question but one that goes to the heart of the government unfairness and illogicality currently preventing us from resuming bowling as a club.
The simple ‘ambush’ question being …
Finally Minister, is the government’s interpretation of SPACE, as in Hands, Face, Space … being consistently and fairly applied to all indoor situations?
In our letter to these media personalities we will have explained, in simple terms, why it isn’t being applied in a consistent and fair way.
December 16th is a key date since that is when the government will review what, if any, changes can be safely made to the rules of the Tier System. At the very least our objective is to have Tier 2 indoor sport moved back to what it was before the second lockdown.
What a Christmas present, to us all, that would be!
Let’s hope that our case is looked at favourably.
Director (PR & Marketing)