Sport

Coronavirus and sport: Professional sport in England will not resume until the 1st of June

The British government has announced, as part of its plans to ease the lockdown restrictions implemented in light of the coronavirus, that professional sporting events will not take place in England until the 1st of June at the very earliest.

The 50-page guidance document produced earlier this week detailing England’s path out of lockdown revealed that as part of step two of its plan to lift restrictions, sporting events would be permitted to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, in the hopes of boosting national morale. The date of the 1st of June is however contingent upon an acceptable level of progress being made in successfully constraining the spread of the virus.

It is also unknown when venues will be opened such that spectators can once again attend sporting events, with the report stating that this “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections”.

The Premier League has announced, as part of its so-called “Project Restart”, that it intends to see a resumption of fixtures in June, following the suspension of play on the 13th of March. The effects of the resumption of fixtures in the Bundesliga, albeit behind closed doors, on the 16th of May should allow the top flight officials to move further towards a coherent plan of how the resumption may look. In contrast, several other European leagues, including Ligue 1 in France and the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, have abandoned the season, although whilst the Eredivisie season was ended without a champion or relegation, the cancellation of the rest of the Ligue 1 season was accompanied by Paris Saint-Germain being declared champions and the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse.

In cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board has stated that no cricket will be played in either nation until at least the 1st of July, irrespective of what may be permitted by government policy regarding the lifting of lockdown restrictions. Likewise, Premiership Rugby has stated its aim for a restart of fixtures in early July, with 9 rounds of fixtures remaining. And in motorsport racing, Formula 1 is hoping to be able to race at Silverstone on the 19th of July, although it is not clear if this will be possible in light of the government’s desire to impose a 14 day self-isolation period for all international arrivals into the UK.