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Playing sport under the new regulations

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From Sport England

We know this has been a very difficult time for sports clubs and organisations all over England. 

The restrictions that were put in place to combat coronavirus (Covid-19) have had an immediate and profound impact on how you can operate, and for many clubs have also caused a significant financial challenge.

At Sport England, we’re doing all we can to help you through this period. 

At the end of March, we introduced a £195 million package of both exchequer and National Lottery funding to help sport and physical activity, and we recently increased this to £210m thanks to a £15m top up of our Community Emergency Fund. The Club Matters website also has a host of practical tips and resources to support you

On Sunday, the Prime Minister set out some changes regarding the lockdown that impact the way we can engage with sport and physical activity again. 

I know this can be confusing, so today I wanted to set out what this means in practical terms for clubs and their members. 

From tomorrow, Wednesday 13 May, people will be able to:

• Spend more time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking or sunbathing 
• Meet one other person from a different household outdoors, as long as they follow social distancing guidelines and stay a minimum of two metres apart 
• Exercise outdoors as often as they wish, again following social distancing guidelines 
• Use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or a golf course. This can be done with members of their own household, or one other person as long as they stay two metres apart. 

However, people will still be unable to: 

• Visit friends and family in their homes 
• Exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool 
• Use an outdoor gym or playground 
• Visit a private or ticketed attraction 
• Gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of their own household), except for a few specific exceptions such as funerals, house moves or in emergencies. 

These changes represent significant steps forward for many sports and activities and it will be great to see sports like golf, tennis and watersports resume in some form. 

Yet, while many of us will be desperate to get going again, it’s vital all organisations thoroughly understand the guidelines and create detailed and robust plans before they restart. For example, it will not be possible for you to open up any indoor sport facilities or use your clubhouse for social purposes. 

It’s also important you communicate with your members so they clearly understand what they can and can’t do and are reassured that a return to sport will be as safe as possible. 

Moving forward, we’ll continue to work closely with the government to ensure the needs of community sport are considered throughout this process and will work hard to ensure you always have the latest information and correct interpretation of the restrictions. 

In the meantime, please keep up to date with developments via your national governing body, the Sport England website and our social media channels. 

Our website has a dedicated coronavirus section that lists all the resources we have available and includes a detailed Q&A that explains the new regulations in more detail. 

This will be updated with more information in the days to come. You’ll also be able to read more about the funding we offer, including the Community Emergency Fund that has already helped support thousands of clubs and organisations. 

As you can imagine, this fund has been heavily oversubscribed and will be paused at 11.59pm on Thursday 14 May to enable our assessors to process the remaining applications as quickly as possible and consider the impact the fund has had so far. Please submit your application before then if you require emergency funding at this time. 

Stay safe and keep well, 

Tim Hollingsworth 

Chief executive, Sport England 

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Posted on 14th May 2020