Culture Secretary signals amateur sport could return within weeks

Five-a-side from next month? Culture Secretary signals amateur sport could return within weeks with gyms and leisure centres also reopening

  • Oliver Dowden said he understood people are ‘itching’ to resume their routines
  • The aim is for grassroots sport to return at the start of July ‘at the very earliest’ 
  • It comes as Premier League football began again tonight after a 100 day absence
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Five-a-side football fans could return to the pitch as early as next month, with gyms and leisure centres also set to reopen, the Culture Secretary has signalled.

Oliver Dowden said he understood the public are ‘itching’ to resume their amateur sport and fitness routines, as Premier League football returned this evening for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak.  

‘Sports recovery is never just about elite sports,’ he told the daily Downing Street briefing.

Oliver Dowden, pictured at tonight’s Downing Street briefing, said he understood the public are ‘itching’ to resume their amateur sport and fitness routines

Five-a-side football fans could return to the pitch as early as next month, the Culture Secretary has signalled

Gyms have been closed since the lockdown was first enforced back in March, but bosses have been making changes behind the scenes to ensure members can still work out while maintaining social distancing

‘I know people are itching to get back to their gyms, their leisure centres, their five aside leagues…and all the normal fitness activities.

‘So we are working closely to get grassroots and community sport back and up running as soon as it’s safe to so – with an aim at the start of July at the very earliest.’

Gyms have been closed since the lockdown was first enforced back in March, but bosses have been making changes behind the scenes to ensure members can still work out while maintaining social distancing.

These include encouraging customers to reserve slots online in advance, as well as floor markings and sanitising stations.

Earlier this month, outdoor socially distanced fitness classes with up to six adults at a time were rolled out at David Lloyd health clubs.

The chain said an expanded range of outdoor activities was being introduced at 50 of its fitness clubs in the UK.

Up to 90 classes – ranging from ‘boot camp-style’ workouts to Pilates and yoga – are available each week, taking place around the clubs’ external pools, garden areas and tennis courts. 

Meanwhile, the resumption of top flight football this evening saw players, staff and officials all drop to one knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

As football finally made its return amid the coronavirus pandemic, players of Aston Villa and Sheffield United took the knee

Every playing member, plus the referee and matchday officials, kneeled on the turf in the moments before kick-off

Players came together to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd

Names on the back of shirts were also replaced with Black Lives Matter, as football threw itself behind the movement

As the whistle blew to mark the return of the Premier League after a 100-day absence, Aston Villa and Sheffield United players, along with staff and officials, all saluted the movement, following protests across Britain after the death of George Floyd in police custody in the US last month.

Players wore shirts with Black Lives Matter written on the back, instead of their own names, as they prepared to play 90 minutes in front of a near-empty Villa Park stadium in Birmingham. 

Source: Read Full Article