Update from England Boxing CEO Gethin Jenkins
October 7, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny
England Boxing Chief Executive Officer Gethin Jenkins has today issued the following statement addressed to Members and Clubs following yesterday’s board meeting.
Dear Members and Clubs,
As we all know, it has been a tough few months for everyone across the country in all walks of life – and boxing has been no different. We understand and are fully aware of the physical and mental health impact of this alongside the financial issues it’s has created.
But it should also be recognised the significant amount of effort that has been undertaken by Clubs and members to adapt and overcome to ensure that some physical activity and all round support is provided to the boxers and we would like to thank you for this work, effort and resilience in delivering this.
Along with other combat sports, England Boxing continues to lobby the Department for Culture Media and Sport for the easing of restrictions around contact boxing, including pad work and sparring.
However, over the last week or so, it has become clear that both cases involving and deaths from COVID-19 are once again climbing sharply, and that overall restrictions on boxing aren’t going to be eased in the near future. This has been emphasised by the tightening of general government restrictions and step-up of local lockdowns in many areas.
With that in mind, England Boxing wanted to bring some clarity in certain areas regarding the situation for the remainder of 2020 and the England Boxing Board of Directors met online yesterday (Tuesday 6th October) and regrettably had to agree to the following:
England Boxing Women’s Winter and Schools Box Cups and competitive boxing
The England Boxing Schools Box Cup (late November) – arranged to replace the England Boxing National Schools National Championships 2020, which did not take place earlier in the year because of COVID-19 – and the England Boxing Women’s Winter Box Cup (early December) are now both cancelled.
Again, this will come as a disappointment for many, but is unavoidable in the circumstances, and the decision made for the following reasons.
- Government restrictions which are unlikely to change by the beginning of December mean we are prevented from organising events of this scale. Issues include: Restrictions on travel, congregating, permitted numbers, hotels and other operational problems, not least safety of the officials, staff, coaches and the boxers themselves.
- As a result, and given the scale of what is involved, COVID-secure and safe competitions cannot be guaranteed.
- The increased number of COVID-19 cases in many areas means that the height of transmission at an event would be significantly increased at this time.
- Boxers will not have had any competitive boxing or meaningful practice since March and those rates of preparation are likely to have been markedly different, thus causing a safety issue.
- Even if the government did ease our restrictions, there will be insufficient time to progress from pad work through to competitive boxing on the return to boxing pathway.
Alongside this, all competitive boxing under England Boxing’s jurisdiction will remain suspended until the end of December 2020 at the earliest. This will be the subject to continual review of the government restrictions and the advice of DCMS on the return of combat sport. Any positive changes will see the situation reappraised and the Membership informed via updates.
EUBC European Championships
It has also been confirmed that England Boxing will not be sending a team to the rearranged EUBC European Youth (11th to 23rd November, Montenegro) or European Junior Championships (23rd November to 2rd December, Bulgaria).
The decision, while clearly hugely disappointing for those boxers in the running for selection, was not taken lightly and based on a number of reasons and risk factors.
- Both host countries are currently on the UK quarantine list, meaning that, including travel, attendance and quarantining, this would take the boxers out of school / education for at least four weeks (competition and subsequent isolation), even without the training factored in.
- It would also mean that insurance would not be available, as travel is only permitted if essential to quarantine countries.
- With boxers not having had a competitive bout since March, nor been able to train on pads or spar, its felt the extremely limited and significantly shorter preparation would pose a serious safety / medical risk to the boxers. This is amplified when considering some countries have been training uninterrupted during the same period as different countries have different restrictions.
- As of today and with just over four weeks to go, other than location and date, no information has been provided in regard to logistics, competition and medical plans and, specifically, in regard to COVID security plans for preventative measures including venues, hotels and transport, testing and potential treatment. This, therefore, is a significant concern in relation to the safety of boxers, coaches, support staff etc.
- Restrictions placed on us within England.
Coaching and safeguarding courses
Face-to-face coaching and safeguarding courses, which had hoped to resume in early November, have now been cancelled / postponed until at least the end of December.
This is due to the government’s restriction of no more than six people gathering together which, along with social distancing rules and restrictions on sparring etc means that practicals, for means of assessment, can’t take place.
Details of changes to extensions of course limits will be advised as soon as possible. For the avoidance of doubt, any extensions will not apply to DBS certificates, which continue to operate.
We do understand the impact these decisions will have and have not been take lightly. Once again, we would like to thank you for co-operation at this time and understand that keeping gym sessions relevant and interesting with the restrictions in place can be difficult.
We also know the toll it has had on many people’s mental health and would like to direct Clubs and individuals to our Mental Health web page for resources and information that can help.
Please be assured that our number one priority remains to protect the health and wellbeing not just of all our Members, but their families and friends as well, which is why we urge everyone to continue to follow the England Boxing guidelines, which are based on government regulations and laws.
We also continue to lobby DCMS for an ease of restrictions and appropriate funding bodies for additional funding to support the Clubs. Once we have more information we will update accordingly.
Gethin Jenkins, CEO, England Boxing