Plan to end England’s outdoor grassroots sport ban


Grassroots sport has been banned in England since 5 November

A ban on outdoor grassroots sport is set to be lifted in England when the national lockdown ends.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday unveiling plans for Covid-19 restrictions from 2 December, which MPs will vote on later in the week.

While parts of the tier system will be toughened, it is expected that outdoor grassroots sport will be allowed across all tiers.

Gyms are also set to reopen.

While elite sports has continued behind closed doors during England’s four-week lockdown from Thursday, grassroots and amateur sport has been halted since 5 November.

That saw leisure centres and gyms close, as well as other indoor and outdoor leisure facilities including golf courses, while all adult and children’s grassroots football was suspended, despite calls for exemptions from the restrictions.

Talking about grassroots sport, culture secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Sport on Thursday: “I’m desperate for it to come back.

“I am pretty hopeful and confident as we go back into the tier system. It’s top of the list for us to get it back from 2 December. I know how valuable it is.”

But he added: “We have to go through a proper process of evaluating the evidence; we have to wait until the final decisions are made.”

In Scotland, only non-contact training is allowed in grassroots football under lockdown rules in areas under the most severe restrictions.

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