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Swimming, five-a-side football, hockey and basketball among sports soon to be unlocked to the public as ECB publishes new guidelines




Sports enthusiasts in the area will soon be able to get back out on pitches and into swimming pools after Oliver Dowden revealed at today's government briefing a raft of relaxed guidelines are set to come into force in England.

The secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport said that recreational sport will swing back into action this weekend with cricket as well as people being able to use outdoor swimming pools.

He said a host of other sports, including five-a-side football, hockey and basketball, will be able to be played soon, once those sports' governing bodies have published new guidance to be followed.

Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport takes a government press conference dealing with the unlocking of sports facilities(38159610)
Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport takes a government press conference dealing with the unlocking of sports facilities(38159610)

Indoor swimming pools, gyms and sports facilities are also set to be unlocked to the public in two weekend's time, from July 25, with limits on capacity and other measures in place.

He said: "From this weekend onwards millions of people will be able to rejoin their local sports teams as soon as their organisations publish approved guidance.

"Recreational cricket is back on this weekend, five-a-side football, basketball, hockey and countless other sports will follow shortly after. And from this Saturday they will also be able to enjoy outdoor pools and waterparks.

Swimming clubs will be able to get back into their pools later this month, following today's government announcement
Swimming clubs will be able to get back into their pools later this month, following today's government announcement

"And from Saturday the 25th people will no longer have to work out in their park or on their living room floor. They will be able to go back into their gyms, their indoor swimming pools, their leisure centres and jump on that spin bike or treadmill for the first time in months."

Following the announcement, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) published their much anticipated guidance for this weekend's resumption of recreational cricket.

As their preview Tweet yesterday had laid out, it will see 11-a-side cricket allowed with no restrictions on the amount of overs.

Five-a-side football will soon be able to be played
Five-a-side football will soon be able to be played

But a number of requirements and adaptations have been issued, with the main summary of changes as below:

  • Individuals should undergo a personal symptom check prior to all activity and not take part if they demonstrate any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • All groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches and officials.
  • Club representatives should ensure that the facility is compliant with current government legislation, including legislation and guidance related to COVID-19.
  • All activity should include regular hygiene breaks for participants' hands and the ball, e.g. every six overs or 20 minutes.
  • Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match/session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace.
  • Players should remain socially distanced at all times (In England only: wicketkeepers and slip fielders at 1m+).
  • Players should minimise handling of the ball in all activity, by limiting contact as it makes its way back to the bowler and using small groups in training; no sweat or saliva should be added to the ball at any time.
  • Limit the sharing of equipment where possible. Where not possible, practice strict hand hygiene.
  • Batters to run in distinct running lanes to ensure they’re not within 2m of the bowler or their batting partner.

The full ECB guidance can be read on the ECB website here.


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