Professional sport has nudged a further step closer to a resumption after the government published ‘stage two’ of its guidance which enables competitive and close-contact training. The guidance, published in conjunction with public health officials and sports medical officers, allows for organised, close-contact training, under carefully controlled medical conditions.
The advice is geared towards establishing the conditions for stage three of the process, which is expected to be achieved next month with a resumption of sports, including Premier League matches, behind closed doors. The guidance makes it clear that the close contact training for elite athletes can include close quarters coaching and tackling in team sports so that players can get match fit. The Premier League will meet tomorrow to discuss their own protocol for contact training, as they look to try and establish a restart date, with June 19 currently mooted as a “staging post”.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This new guidance marks the latest phase of a carefully phased return to training process for elite athletes, designed to limit the risk of injury and protect the health and safety of all involved. We are absolutely clear that individual sports must review whether they have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place before they can proceed, and secure the confidence of athletes, coaches and support staff. Given the wide ranging input we have received from medical experts, we believe these pragmatic measures should provide further reassurance that a safe, competitive training environment can be delivered, as we work towards a restart of professional sport behind closed doors when it is safe to do so.”