football

Is elite sport cancelled? How latest lockdown rules affect Premier League and other major sports


Elite sport including professional football will continue despite the UK’s tightening Covid-19 restrictions amid a surge in coronavirus cases across Britain, the government has confirmed. 

On Monday evening Boris Johnson confirmed greater restrictions across the country to combat the virus.

The Premier League and the English Football League have had to postpone some games in recent weeks as outbreaks of the virus have hit clubs including Newcastle United, Manchester City and Fulham, with 32 December matches from England’s top four tiers to be rescheduled. But they leagues remain confident in their model of regular testing which has so far allowed the 2020-21 season to go ahead. 

Outdoor team sports at grassroots level will no longer be permitted, while golf, tennis and outdoor gyms have also been ruled out. 

Professional sport in Scotland has also been given the go-ahead to carry on regardless despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon introducing strict new measures too. Sturgeon has ordered a March-style full lockdown amid concerns over rising cases across the country, but Scottish football clubs and their rugby counterparts have been told they can continue to train and play as normal.

The Scottish Government has released an exemption list, which states “those involved in professional sports, for training, coaching or competing in an event” are among those allowed to leave their homes.

Most of Scotland will be placed in lockdown from Tuesday for the whole of January to tackle the rising spread of the new coronavirus strain, Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister said a legally-enforceable stay-at-home order will apply from Tuesday to areas currently under Level 4 – which includes all of mainland Scotland – while schools will remain closed for the rest of the month.

Sturgeon announced the changes in a statement at the Scottish Parliament, which was recalled from recess to discuss stricter measures, telling MSPs taking no action could see Covid-19 capacity in hospitals overrun within “three or four weeks”.

She said: “We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent but we must act quickly.”

The Vitality Netball Legends Series between the Vitality Roses and Jamaica Sunshine Girls, scheduled to take place in England at the end of this month, has been postponed due to ongoing coronavirus issues.

Additional reporting by PA



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