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A TOP scientist has urged Boris Johnson to overturn the Covid ban hitting non-elite team sports.
Tennis, football, rugby and hockey could be among the first to have restrictions lifted when the PM unveils his Covid lockdown exit plan.
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Scotland celebrates its huge victory over England with the Calcutta Cup, TwickenhamCredit: Reuters
When will outdoor sports resume?
Outdoor sports could initially return with golf and tennis between two people some time in March.
No firm date has been set as yet as Boris Johnson hasn’t revealed his road map to exiting lockdown – with his address to the nation happening from 7pm on Monday, February 22.
But, a four-step plan out of lockdown suggests non-elite team games including grassroots/community football, rugby and hockey will be allowed from the end of March.
Edinburgh University’s Professor Woolhouse told the Observer: “This virus very rarely transmits outdoors. So, quite honestly, outdoor activities that don’t involve close physical contact could be adopted now.
“That is not an argument to say we can have crowds back at football matches. But sports involving small numbers of players or sports for children: they could start safely today.”
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is in discussions with the government over “the safe resumption of tennis activity as a naturally socially distant sport”.
The LTA hopes tennis will be among the first sports to have the coronavirus restrictions lifted, possibly as soon as March.
Tennis players are itching to get back on to the courtCredit: Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow
Non-elite football is currently banned in England, which has affected youth and adult grassroots football, NLS feeder leagues etc through the suspension of fixtures and training.
But it’s believed that football could kick off in April, say political insiders.
It all depends on the continued success of the UK’s ambitious vaccine programme, and the level of Covid cases falling further – particularly after all kids return to school on March 8.
No date has yet been aired by the government on the return of amateur rugby, but it could also re-start in April.
Following the Government’s national lockdown announcement in January 2021, to counter the steep rise in Covid infections, all community rugby activity in England was suspended until further notice.
In line with policy, that meant that all adult and age grade rugby training and fixtures were ordered to stop.
As hockey isn’t a contact sport like rugby, it may be allowed to resume in April.
Grassroots and club hockey is currently suspended, as a result of the latest National Lockdown in England.
Ireland celebrates at the FIH Womens’ Hockey World Cup in London 2018Credit: Getty Images – Getty
What are the current rules on outdoor sport?
Elite sports, including rugby and football, are able to continue in line with the government’s strict coronavirus hygiene protocols and social distancing measures that are in place to keep players, coaches and staff safe.
Match officials, medics and coaches must remain socially distanced from players where possible during play, for example.
Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is also allowed to continue.
All amateur – grassroots/community – sports are still banned.
Tennis could be one of the first sports to have the coronavirus restrictions liftedCredit: Image Bank – Getty
What are the rules on outdoor exercise?
Outdoor sports venues were closed when the third lockdown regulations came into force on January 5.
This included tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools.
People still have access to outdoor exercise, but it can only be on your own/ with people from the same household or just one other person from another household.
Outdoor spaces where you’re allowed to exercise include neighbourhood streets, parks, beaches, and the countryside, public gardens and grounds (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments and outdoor playgrounds.