More than 50 sporting bodies have called on the government to allow community sport to return in areas in the higher tiers of coronavirus restrictions “as soon as possible”.
A joint statement – signed by organisations including the Football Association, England and Wales Cricket Board and the Lawn Tennis Association – also called for the return of fans.
It said efforts to increase sporting participation were “vital”, describing the sector as “essential to the nation’s recovery”.
Under current coronavirus restrictions in England, a maximum of 4,000 fans are allowed at outdoor events in tier one and up to 2,000 supporters can attend in tier-two areas but none in tiers three and four.
In tier four, indoor gyms and sports facilities must close. In tier three they can open but indoor group activities are not allowed.
The statement, which the organisations have called a “New Year’s resolution”, is part of a campaign entitled #SaveOurSports which launched in September with the aim of protecting community sport during the pandemic.
The organisations thanked the government “for their support to date in getting elite and community sport back being played”.
The statement continued: “We ask for the Government to do the same for community sport and activity in the higher tiers of restrictions to ensure people can get back to participating in what they love as soon as possible.”
The bodies called for sport “to be at the heart of our nation’s post-Covid renewal in 2021 and beyond”, adding that “there is a golden opportunity for sport and physical activity to build back better”.
“Our specific aim is to see activity and levels of participation return to their pre-Covid levels by 2022,” the statement said.