Coronavirus: Government to 'approve return of recreational team sports this week'

·2-min read
A group of boys play cricket on Clapham Common, London, on Bank Holiday Monday after the introduction of measures to bring the country out of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A group playing cricket on Clapham Common in London last month. The organised recreational team version could return soon. (PA)

The government is set to approve the return of recreational team sports in England, it has been reported.

The Times says ministers will make the decision in the next few days to allow team sports to be played as the coronavirus lockdown eases.

The newspaper reported this could mean that recreational cricket could be played as early as next week, with club cricket allowed to resume from 11 July.

Sport England has submitted plans to the government on behalf of medical representatives of a number of team sports, such as cricket, football, hockey, rugby, basketball, netball and rugby league.

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Its framework, delivered to the government last Friday, contains a range of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among participants.

If approved by Public Health England, team sports at a recreational level will be given the green light to resume, The Times said.

It is hoped that football and rugby could start their new seasons as normal in September if training restrictions are eased.

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Team sports could also be played in schools from the beginning of the new term in September if social distancing and hygiene measures are in place.

Last week, Boris Johnson announced that pubs, cinemas and theatres could reopen from 4 July, but there was no indication of when team sports could return.

Training for team sports is currently permitted, but only in groups of up to six people with no contact.

Sport England’s framework will be followed by each sport publishing its own set of guidelines, The Times said.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "We are working closely with national governing bodies to develop the conditions and guidance for all sport and physical activity to safely return as soon as possible, subject to public health guidance."

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