The UK Government have announced that outdoor sporting events can welcome fans back and grassroots sports will resume next month.
Grassroot sport including Non-League Football will be able to resume with social distancing in place once the national lockdown ends on 2 December after being halted from 5 November, with exception of Non-League teams who are still participating in this season’s FA Cup and permitted to continue training.
UK Government however has put a limit on fan attendance with a maximum of 4000 supporters allowed to attend matches held within tier one areas, whilst matches taking place within tier two will be permitted a limit of 2000 fans or 50% capacity within both tiers depending on which total is lower.
Elite clubs located within tier three areas including Liverpool, Manchester United amongst others will not be allowed spectators inside football stadiums until further notice, although full clarity on which tiers each town and city will be placed isn’t set to be announced until later this week.
Elite sport within tier three areas however will be permitted to continue behind closed doors.
Speaking via video link to House of Parliament on Monday 23 November, Prime Minister – Boris Johnson said; “In tiers one and two, spectator sports and business events will be free to resume inside and outside with capacity limits and social distancing.”
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden welcomed the announcement, saying; “This is a big step forward for sport. Bringing grassroots sport back was my number one priority so I’m pleased we are reopening sports and gyms in every tier, in recognition of the significant health benefits.”
Dowden also acknowledged the earlier than anticipated return of football fans to stadiums, saying: “I’m also delighted we are able to get the turnstiles turning sooner than expected, taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest risk areas first.”
On the issue of fan safety at outdoor sport events, Dowden said; “I’m confident that sports will take every step to ensure their fans are safe, and fans will play their part and look out for each other until we can safely get everyone back in.”
Indoor Sport Can Resume
Indoor sport and physical activity will be able to resume with restrictions on certain activities due to higher risk of Coronavirus transmission in an indoor setting, although restrictions will also depend on the alert level within local areas.
Tier One areas will be allowed to do indoor sport without the rule of six applying, which enables people from different households to mix, whilst group activities like exercise classes can be held in larger numbers if in separate groups which don’t mix.
People living in tier two areas can do indoor sport within households and take part in group activities on condition that there is no mixing between households, plus play certain sports which doesn’t require close contact against members of other households.
Those living in tier three areas won’t be allowed to play indoor sport with other households and aren’t permitted to hold group activities.