British government allows sports to resume from June

British government allows sports to resume from June

12/05/2020

Professional sports in Great Britain can resume behind closed doors for broadcast from June 1 after their coronavirus hiatus, the UK government has confirmed.

The Premier League has not been played since the weekend of March 7 due to the pandemic, with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea attacker Callum Hudson-Odoi among the first prominent figures to test positive for COVID-19.

In tennis, Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, along with its traditional warm-up tournaments at Queen's Club, Eastbourne, Nottingham and Birmingham.

This would also allow the World Snooker Championships to take place, with the date having been moved from its usual April slot to one at the end of July and the beginning of August.

Meanwhile, cricket has been put on until at least July, with the ECB cancelling the inaugural edition of the Hundred until 2021, though still hoping to fulfil an entire international summer and a reduced domestic programme.

However, sport has now been given the green light to take place without fans present and to be broadcast across the country as lockdown measures are eased.

Following Boris Johnson's address to the country on Sunday, the government has published its roadmap out of lockdown, "permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact".

The resumption of elite sport is contingent on the most up-to-date assessment of the risk posed by the virus and the June 1 date will be delayed if certain conditions are not met.

This is part of Phase 2 of lockdown being unwound, which begins at the start of next month and also includes the return of some non-essential retail and sees select year-groups go back to school.

The Premier League is meeting on Monday as it holds talk on its return, with the biggest obstacles believed to be a reluctance of relegation-threatened teams to play in neutral venues, robbing them of the chance to pick up valuable home points.

The league has insisted that it remains united in its desire to complete the season, with UEFA's deadline of May 25 to set out a plan for resumption looming. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has already spoken of his desire to make a resumed Premier League accessible with more matches broadcast to the nation, rather than on the traditional paywall channels of Sky Sports and BT Sport.

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