Covid-19 Return to Play guidance for Savate – May 2021

There is no TL:DR summary for our Covid-19 return to play. In order to resume training safely, legally, and responsibly, you need to read this document and all the linked documents fully and carefully.

What this document covers:

The following is our best understanding of the steps you must take to return to training under government-issued guidance .It remains the responsibility of each club and instructor to ensure they are insured and following guidance legally. This document does not constitute legal advice.

The document below applies to England only. We will contact clubs in the devolved nations of the UK separately as their laws on these matters differ.


Why skim-reading this document would be a problem:

  • It is not the case that sport is now simply permitted again. The law is still that social distancing must be observed. Breaking that could be a criminal matter.
  • If you do not adhere to guidance, you are not considered ‘organised sport’ and therefore must follow the general public on social distancing and no mixing of households. 
  • There is a £1,000 first offence and £10,000 maximum fine for businesses breaking restrictions.
  • HSE, police,and covid marshalls are doing more spot-checks of businesses and schools.
  • Insurers have been clear since the start of the pandemic: adhere to government guidance otherwise you are not covered.
  • If you happen to get some of the guidance wrong through carelessness, you may still be fined, prosecuted, or find yourself uninsured after an accident.

Return to Play guidance for Savate:
Each Sport England recognised combat sport NGB was initially supposed to create and sign-off a unique Return to Play plan with the DCMS to mitigate the risks associated with resuming that particular style. This has been modified to allow combat sports to follow the approved Return to Play of an NGB to which they do not belong . This is the position we find Savate in.


Instructors in Savate ‘boxing’ may consider what they do to be sufficiently similar to Kickboxing to use the DCMS-approved ‘England Kickboxing’ Return to Play: http://wakogb.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/England-Kickboxing-RTP.pdf which states explicitly that:‘As of the 8th April 2021 DCMS have formally approved this document as the single Action Plan for the sport of kickboxing within England. It is important to note that any club can follow this approved Return to Play policy WITHOUT being a member of any of the organisations listed above.’


Instructors in Canne de Combat or Savate Defense might consider basing their club policies on similar disciplines, such as Kendo or Krav Maga, both of which have an approved Return to Play, or any other that is explicitly linked in the DCMS Combat Sports Framework (see below) https://www.britishkendoassociation.com/dcms-approved-phased-return-to-training-kendo-jodo-and-iaido-phases-april-2021/
https://www.kmrt.co.uk/kravmagaframework

Phased return.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-grassroots-sports-guidance-for-safe-provision-including-team-sport-contact-combat-sport-and-organised-sport-events
The DCMS Combat Sport Framework (above, please read) was designed to re-introduce contact combat sports in phases, following the UK Government roadmap principle of 5 weeks between relaxations in order to test their effect. *Simplying* these phases:

Phase 0: Distanced exercise only.

Phase 1: Contact to equipment, not to persons or clothing.

Phase 2: Contact to persons e.g. in sparring.

Phase 3: Competition.


Consequently, clubs are encouraged not to jump to the highest permitted phase too quickly, but to progress cautiously over a number of weeks.

What is permitted now?
As of 17th May, combat sports following a DCMS-approved Return to Play are advised:’Outdoors, organised contact combat sport activities can resume at phase 2 for children, and phase 1 for adults. Indoors, organised contact combat sport activities can resume at phase 2 for children. Adults can resume indoors at phase 1.’

Steps to take in order to return.

  1. Read the Kickboxing Return to Play thoroughly (or the approved Return to Play most closely resembling your discipline).
  2. Create a club Covid Risk Assessment and action plan to implement all the risk mitigation measures (outlined in the kickboxing document p12 and p17-26).
  3. Decide which phase it is legal and appropriate for your club to return at, and specify which low, medium, and high risk activities you will be using, either indoors or outdoors, for children and adults.  
  4. Set appropriate maximum class numbers – consulting your venue’s covid plan, revised maximum occupancy, and ventilation limits, as necessary, as well as your insurance ratios.   
  5. Set up an advance booking system and Covid-19 screening process.   
  6. Write clear session guidance for your students to follow, including distanced arrival and departure plans.
  7. Purchase any PPE and sanitisation equipment as necessary..  
  8. Ensure your first aid certificates, insurance, safeguarding, and other documents and legal necessities are up-to-date after a year or more away from training. 

Please contact President Sam Byford-Winter or the Covid officer James Southwood for any clarification of the above.


Best sporting wishes,
James Southwood