Covid-19 Elite Athlete Return to Sport Programme

Follwing our Chairman’s Statement of 28 May 2020, we are now inviting clubs to apply for “Elite academy status”, which will grant them the opportunity to open for limited training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from 1st June 2020, with no more than 10 athletes and 5 coaches in their program.

This will be in line with the UK government guidelines on Elite Sport Return to Training, which can be found at the following links:

Stage 1

Stage 2 

Please note that application is a two-step process. The first step is via the form, below, and requires clubs to demonstrate that they have in place all the necessary facilities, procedures and policies to comply with Stage 1 of the government guidelines; UKBJJA Policies and Club Guidelines

Those clubs that are successful will proceed to the second step, when they will be required to nominate those athletes and coaches who are to participate in the program.

IMPORTANT NOTE: clubs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may be subject to additional requirements. Please refer to your local governmental guidance.

(Already applied? Upload your documentation here.)

Frequently asked questions (click to expand):

Who is an elite athlete?
For the purposes of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the relevant definition of Elite Athlete is “an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport”. This is will include athletes who regularly compete in professional grappling invitational tournaments (e.g. Polaris); regularly compete for prize money at domestic or international BJJ competitions (e.g. UKBJJA International Open); or compete professionally in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and who require BJJ training as part of their MMA training programme.

Can any club apply?
Yes, provided you can show that you have qualifying athletes and providing you can provide documented evidence that you are complying with the government Stage 1 and Stage 2 guidelines

Is this a way for clubs to re-open as normal?
No. The number of participants is extremely limited and strict procedures must be followed at all times. The programme places a considerable burden on participating clubs, in terms of risk management, record keeping and facilities/equipment.

So why are you doing it?
The purpose of the Elite Athlete programme is twofold:
Firstly, to allow professional athletes to return to fight training, e.g. for the recent Polaris 13 event, which was sanctioned by the UKBJJA;
Secondly to gather data and to develop protocols and procedures, which will show that BJJ can be trained safely in a controlled manner. The procedures and data will be used as the basis for our action plan for a return to training, for submission to DCMS and Sport England

What data is being gathered and how is it being used?
We are taking detailed records of participants’ temperatures and wellness and these are being monitored daily by our Head of Data and Analytics and our Chief Medical Officer. The data gathered are being used: to identify potential risks early and isolate affected athletes from the programme; to comply with track and trace requirements and other government requirement; to show that we can minimise the risk of transmission in the training environment.
In due course, suitably anonymised data will be submitted to the DCMS and Sports Councils as required (see previous question).

If I take part, will I be insured?
Provided you comply with all the government guidelines and with UKBJJA requirements, your UKBJJA public liability cover will be valid. The UKBJJA policy does not include Employer’s Liability Cover and you should take advice from your insurance provider before applying to take part

I was granted elite academy status but no longer wish to participate. Can I withdraw?
Yes of course. Both clubs and athletes must opt-in to the programme and can withdraw at any time without any repercussions.

How does the application process and training work?
Clubs are asked to complete a detailed risk assessment and provide clear evidence that they meet/exceed the requirements set out in the government guidelines. Once an application has been approved by our Covid-19 committee, for return to training, participating athletes are divided into pods of 2-4 people. Athletes must answer detailed questionnaires before each training session and have their temperature monitored. Detailed records must be submitted to the UKBJJA after every training session.

Only members of the same pod can train together and social distancing must be maintained at all times when not sparring/drilling. Should any member of a training pod report symptoms or a high temperature, or be exposed to possible covid-19 transmission away from the club, the entire pod must self isolate, submit for testing and comply with government track and trace requirements.

I am based in Scotland / Wales / Northern Ireland – can I apply?
Yes, but please be aware that local devolved government regulations take precedence over UK government guidelines. At the moment Elite Academies are running in England and Wales and are able to run in Northern Ireland. We do not yet have a date for a return to training in Scotland.

Who is on the UKBJJA Covid-19 Committee?Chief Medical Officer: Dr Steve Murray
Head of Data and Analytics: Dr Yorrick von Ohlen
UKBJJA Director, Legal: Lawrence Selby
UKBJJA Director, Wales: Neil Williams
UKBJJA Director, Scotland: James McIntyre
UKBJJA Director, Northern Ireland: Pete Lavery
UKBJJA Chairman: Richard Martin
UKBJJA CEO: Mike Williams

I have another question – who should I ask?Please send all questions to [email protected]  – we will try to answer them as quickly as we can

Elite Sport Return to Training Application Form

  • Please describe the measures you have in place to comply with Stage 1, specifically sections 4 & 5.
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    • Please demonstrate the measures you have in place to comply with UKBJJA Club Guidelines and Policies
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