Premier League and elite sport WILL continue confirms Prime Minister Boris Johnson, despite England being plunged into a second lockdown amid coronavirus crisis
The Premier League and other elite sport survived the new lockdown in England on Saturday night after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the show will go on in professional sport.
The month-long lockdown starts on Thursday and Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, confirmed that top-level sport would not be affected. Dowden tweeted that people should work from home where possible but ‘where this is not possible, travel to a place of work will be permitted – e.g. this includes elite sport played behind closed doors.’
Johnson has ordered the country to stay at home in a bid to reverse the spread of Covid-19.
Premier League football will continue behind closed doors despite a second national lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced details of the new measures in a speech on Saturday
And there was grim news for non-elite sports participants, with exemptions which existed for training and team sports to end.
The official Government website listed businesses that will have to close include ‘indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,’
It is not expected that there will be any exemptions for youth sport but children will still be able to do sport at school.
Horse racing will continue but betting shops will be closed which will be a huge blow to revenue in the sport.
Encounters in the Premier League have been taking place behind closed doors since mid-June
There were fears that football could again be required to curtail its league programmes, which would have resulted in further crippling losses to broadcasters.
Asked specifically whether elite football could continue, the Prime Minister said: ‘I can yes to the Premier League with authority.’
It is understood that the successful introduction of elite sport during the last lockdown and the manner in which professional sports have demonstrated that they can safely continue without spreading their virus has played a part in the decision. All elite sport is currently undertaken with strict conditions.
Participants are tested weekly and other figures, such as media and support staff, having to undergo temperature checks and social distancing.
The EFL confirmed it would be continuing, noting the Government’s ‘difficult decision’ and adding that they hoped ‘during this next phase of the crisis, our national sport, negatively affected by Covid-19 like many other industries, can continue to provide some form of welcome distraction and give people in our communities up and down the country a sense of normality in very challenging times.’
The government said that it now intends to work through full details of the public health move
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp welcomed the news that the Premier League would be allowed to carry on.
Speaking after his side’s 2-1 victory over West Ham, he said: ‘It is obviously what we wanted (football to continue) and I think we proved we can keep the bubble safe.
‘Everyone had cases, that is the time we are in, but we could isolate these cases pretty quickly to prevent spread. I think it never happened at a training ground but it has happened when travelling, with international teams, normal life. I think we proved we can do it.
‘And in a lockdown it is really important for the people that they can do things they like to do, and watching football is obviously something they like to do. I am happy we can continue.’
The decision to close golf courses will be a big blow to participants. Courses announced huge increases in interest during the last lockdown as golfers used the opportunity to play as a distraction from the virus and an opportunity to stay fit and healthy.