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Guidelines issued for the resumption of canoe polo

Updated 17 December 2020

British Canoeing has updated guidelines to support the resumption of canoe polofirst issued in July 2020

This guidance issued is aligned with the government’s Covid-19 winter plan and the return to the three tier system in England.

The tiers will be regularly assessed and monitored by government, with the latest changes announced on 17 December 2020.

The Covid-19 winter plan includes:

  • The resumption of organised/structured outdoor exercise and sports, including the reopening of clubs and centres

  • The rule of 6 will once again apply to meeting outdoors - for recreational paddling with friends and family

  • Indoor settings, including gyms, swimming pools and the wider leisure sector can reopen, but with restrictions in place, in line with the three tier system.

Full details are available on the government's website.

COVID-19 Winter Plan - updated 23 November 2020

Full list of local restriction tiers by area - published 26 November 2020

To find out what alert tier your area is in, click here and enter your postcode.


The guidelines for a return to canoe polo have been confirmed with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and in line with the return to recreational team sport framework issued by the government in the summer.

British Canoeing: Return to Team Activities – Canoe Polo - Updated December 2020 PDF

The guidelines relate only to England, as policy and guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is subject to the devolved governments and their respective national governing bodies.


Steve Watts, Chair of British Canoe Polo said:

"I’m excited to see the return of competitive polo with a few understandable restrictions in place which will eventually be lifted. I understand that everyone may not want to start competitive polo just yet so a reminder to clubs and players please respect an individual's decision.

“The document has taken a great deal of effort to put together and the guidelines will hopefully assist in helping you and your facility providers get you back on the water playing games as safely as possible."


The purpose of the guidelines issued is to provide the necessary mitigations in order to enable the return of competitive and recreational canoe polo, as part of the easing of social restrictions.

These mitigations will allow for canoe polo to take place whilst maintaining appropriate compliance with social distancing and permitted group sizes.

When clubs decide to return, they must carry out a risk assessment, alongside recording the procedures and checks put in place.

Areas of focus include polo activity prior, during and after, alongside the use of clubhouses and hospitality.