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Sport returns: From Monday 1 June competitive sport allowed behind closed doors

Domestic competitive sport behind closed doors will be allowed from Monday, the UK government says.

The ‘phase three’ guidance paves the way for live sport to return on 1 June for the first time since mid-March.

It is up to individual sports to assess the risk and consult athletes, coaches and support staff.

Horse racing is among the first to resume with a meeting at Newcastle on Monday, while the Premier League is due to resume on 17 June.

Clubs in England’s top flight returned to ‘phase two’ contact training on 25 May.

“The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments,” said the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden.

“This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.

“This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.”

The key protocols that must be adhered to:

  • All competition delivery partners and user groups involved, from the teams and athletes, to the support staff, officials and media, must travel individually and by private transport where possible
  • Prior to entering the competition venue, they are expected to carry out a screening process for coronavirus symptoms. Anyone with known or suspected Covid-19 will not be permitted to enter and should be placed, or remain, in isolation
  • Social distancing should be maintained by all groups where possible. This includes the competing athletes and support staff on the bench and field of play, such as during any disputes between players and referees, or scoring celebrations
  • Dressing room usage should be minimised. However, showers can be used
  • Competition delivery partners and elite sports organisations should appoint a named Covid-19 officer to be responsible for oversight of all planning and communications

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters “welcomed” the decision.

“We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” added Masters.

“This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers – along with all our other stakeholders – as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

“If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019-20 season in just over two weeks’ time.”

More to follow.

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