Elite athletes and professional sportsmen and women can resume performance training under new guidance published today, in a significant step towards a safe resumption of live sport behind closed doors.
The guidance, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has been developed in close consultation with the Deputy Chief Medical Officers of England, Public Health England and medical representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies.
It will help to ensure athletes can initially carry out individual performance training at an official elite training venue, under carefully controlled medical conditions, providing they keep two metres apart at all times from their teammates and other people outside their household.
All athletes and staff must also adhere to the existing social distancing guidelines travelling to and from, and during, training at this stage, and adhere to all other restrictions applying to the general population outside training.
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The guidance follows the Government’s publication of its COVID-19 recovery strategy, as it takes forward the next phase of its response to the virus.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “I know our sports stars are keen to get back to training and this guidance will enable them to do so in a safe way. Our top priority is protecting the health of athletes, coaches and support staff.
“Enabling athletes to get match-fit is an important milestone towards restarting competitive sport behind closed doors – but we have not given a green light yet. We are clear that this can only happen on the advice of medical experts and when it is safe to do so.”
Today’s guidance also includes safeguards such as the deep cleaning of facilities and the screening of athletes and staff for COVID-19 symptoms before they can enter.
All athletes and support staff will be expected to engage in a 1:1 check-in prior to any resumption of organised training, to ensure they have understood the sport-specific risks and mitigations, training site protocols in place, and are physically and mentally well enough to proceed.
Regular screening for COVID-19 symptoms will also be expected to be carried out on every athlete by an appropriately trained healthcare professional.
Guidance on step one has been published today and comes into effect immediately. Step two will incorporate a level of social clustering, so that players can get match-fit ahead of any resumption of competitive, top level sport once medical experts advise this is safe and appropriate. Additional guidance will follow on step two in due course.
The plan intends to minimise the risk to the elite sports community, while also minimising any pressure elite sport places on healthcare workers and the wider community during any resumption of training. Like all changes to current measures it will be kept under review in accordance with the Government’s Covid alert system.
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