Coronavirus: Ban on outdoor grassroots sport set to be lifted in England when lockdown ends

A ban on outdoor grassroots sport is set to be lifted in England when the national lockdown ends.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday unveiling plans for Covid-19 restrictions from 2 December, which MPs will vote on later in the week.

While parts of the tier system will be toughened, it is expected that outdoor grassroots sport will be allowed across all tiers.

Gyms are also set to reopen.

While elite sports has continued behind closed doors during England’s four-week lockdown, grassroots and amateur sport has been halted since 5 November.

That saw leisure centres and gyms close, as well as other indoor and outdoor leisure facilities including golf courses, while all adult and children’s grassroots football was suspended, despite calls for exemptions from the restrictions.

Talking about grassroots sport, culture secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Sport on Thursday: “I’m desperate for it to come back.

“I am pretty hopeful and confident as we go back into the tier system. It’s top of the list for us to get it back from 2 December. I know how valuable it is.”

But he added: “We have to go through a proper process of evaluating the evidence; we have to wait until the final decisions are made.”

In Scotland, only non-contact training is allowed in grassroots football under lockdown rules in areas under the most severe restrictions.

Last week a £300m bail-out for spectator sports in England was announced, but no additional funding was directed specifically at recreational sport.

Lisa Wainwright, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said it was “critical that a proportion of this money goes to the lifeblood of each sport at the community level”.

She added: “It remains crucial that community sport and recreation is opened up as soon as possible to enhance the physical and mental health of the nation as we move out of the debilitating effects of lockdown.

“While this release of funding is a very welcome development, we should remember that many sports are not covered by this package and they remain in a perilous situation with clubs and community centres struggling to survive the latest restrictions.

“To this extent, community sport and leisure still stands on a precipice.”

Source: BBC

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