Call to rethink ‘harmful’ ban on grassroots outdoor sports in lockdown


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he Government was today urged to think again on suspending outdoor grassroots sports, with campaigners branding the decision “senseless and harmful”.

Elite sport can continue behind closed doors during the four-week lockdown from Thursday, but community sports and facilities have to close, including children’s sport out of school hours.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said this would “reduce the transmission risk from households mixing”.  

But the decision sparked a backlash from coaches and campaigners. Brian Akintokun, international co-ordinator at Grassroots for Good and community development director at Hackney Wick FC, said: “We think the guidelines are senseless. It doesn’t make sense that children can go to school but cannot take part in sports outside in a socially distanced way. It’s going to be harmful to their physical and mental health.”  

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch tweeted: “If travelling was an issue we could have stopped competition but continued with training, with all the Covid security clubs have introduced.”

Founder of Tennis First Charitable Trust Matthew Cattaway, who coaches in Ealing and Hounslow, said: “The LTA is lobbying the Government and we are waiting on a final decision.” England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson has signed a letter to Boris Johnson asking for a rethink.  



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