Coronavirus wrap: professional sport awaits details on easing lockdown
Professional sports in the UK are awaiting further details on the government’s plans to ease the lockdown in the future as the Premier League prepares for another meeting on the restart of the project later on Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to curb a quick return to action on Sunday evening when he said it was too early to significantly ease the lockdown.
More information on when the next steps could be taken is expected to be submitted to Parliament on Monday.
It will come as the Premier League reunites to discuss the next steps in its own comeback, including a discussion of security protocols.
Monday’s meeting is not expected to include a vote on using neutral venues to end the season, which has proven to be one of Project Restart’s most controversial issues so far.
Brighton, Aston Villa and Watford have slammed the idea, despite warnings it could be an obstacle to the resumption of football.
Brighton announced on Sunday that a third Seagulls player had tested positive for the coronavirus. The PA news agency understands the rest of the squad will continue to train both at home and solo at the club’s training ground.
Two other players, whose names were also not disclosed by the club, contracted the virus earlier in the pandemic. They are believed to have recovered since, but it is not clear whether they have returned to training yet.
In Spain, La Liga announced that five anonymous players have tested positive for the virus and will be quarantined.
Other sports organizations are weighing the implications of Johnson’s announcement.
The England and Wales Cricket Board tweeted that it was working closely with the government, adding: “Everyone in the sport is hoping that we will see cricket played in England and Wales this summer.”
Formula One had hoped to hold back-to-back races at Silverstone in July, immediately after the races held in Austria, but those plans which could be affected by Johnson’s announcement that air travelers to the UK would soon be forced to s’ isolate for 14 days after arrival.
Johnson gave recreational sports a boost as it was announced that people would be allowed to exercise outdoors more than once a day and play sports starting Wednesday, although ‘they should only do this with those in their own home.
The advice only applies to England, with the position in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unchanged.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Oliver Dowden tweeted: “Tentatively and in less risky outdoor environments, we may imminently allow certain sporting activities like golf, basketball, tennis, fishing – solo / at home. Orientation to follow.
The R&A responded to the announcement by saying that courses in England would start to reopen, but urged people to play responsibly.
“As a sport, we must work together to responsibly resume play as the government concerned determines it is safe to do so,” a statement said.
“We need to ensure that the safety and well-being of everyone involved, from golfers to club staff and greenkeepers, is maintained at all times. Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must maintain it and act responsibly when play resumes. “
The British Horseracing Authority is awaiting further guidance from the government later today on the plaza for the resumption of races.
He tweeted: “Industry executives are meeting to discuss the information available and will post an initial response later today.
“The BHA continues to consult with the government regarding yesterday’s address, and we look forward to further guidance this afternoon and tomorrow.
“In the meantime, we continue to plan for the resumption of racing, alongside colleagues from the industry.”
The races have been suspended since March 17 in Britain, but Germany returned to action last Thursday while France holds its first meetings today.