Professional sport in England can continue behind closed doors, despite a new national lockdown announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
It means Premier League football and elite leagues in other sports are allowed to carry on.
The sport and leisure rules in England are similar to those announced in Scotland earlier on Monday.
People living in England have been told to stay at home and schools will shut for most pupils from Tuesday.
On Monday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row.
For those in England, exercising outside is allowed once a day. Venues such as gyms, tennis courts and golf courses will be closed.
Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is exempt from the new measures.
Games and training in non-elite football – which includes all adult and youth grassroots, except for disabled people – have been suspended.
The Women’s FA Cup is among the non-elite competitions placed on hold. All but one of the second-round matches scheduled to take place on Sunday were postponed because of Covid-19 regulations.
Teams from the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship enter the draw from the fourth round onwards.
|Steps three to six of the National League System (all divisions below the National League North and South)|
|Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid (all divisions below the Women’s Championship)|
|Women’s FA Cup (classified as ‘non-elite’ up to and including the third round)|
|Regional National League System feeder leagues|
|Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite status)|
|FA Girls’ Regional Talent Clubs (unless under elite status)|
|All indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football, including under-18s (except organised outdoor football for disabled people, which is allowed to continue)|
Following Monday’s announcement by the prime minister, this week’s sporting fixtures in England are set to go ahead as planned.
In football, the Carabao Cup semi-finals are being played on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the FA Cup third round – which has 32 fixtures spanning four days – starts on Friday.
There are also several Women’s Super League, English Football League and National League games set to take place, as well as English Premiership and Premier 15s rugby union matches, plus the Masters snooker event in Milton Keynes.
Earlier on Monday, Rochdale chief executive David Bottomley said he believes it is “inevitable” that the EFL will have to temporarily suspend fixtures because of rising coronavirus cases.
Seven of last Saturday’s EFL games – and 52 across the season – have been called off as teams are affected by the virus.
Four Premier League matches have also been postponed this season because of coronavirus cases.
What does the new lockdown mean for sport in England?
The UK government published its guidance for England’s new national lockdown shortly after the prime minister’s televised address at 20:00 GMT.
Here are the points relating to sport and physical activity:
- Elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) – or those on an official elite sports pathway – to compete and train
- Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed
- Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close
- Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue
While golfing has been allowed to continue in Scotland under strict rules, courses will be closed in England.
England Golf said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision, adding it had made a “strong case” to keep the sport open in recent months.
Where can I exercise and who can I exercise with?
You can exercise in a public outdoor place:
- by yourself
- with the people you live with
- with your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one)
- in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
- or, when on your own, with one person from another household
Public outdoor places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- the grounds of a heritage site
UK Active, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes health and fitness, says the government must act immediately to “minimise the damaging impact of lockdown”.
“We know from the millions of people that depend on gyms, pools, and leisure centres to support their physical and mental health, how essential they are,” said UK Active chief executive Huw Edwards.
“We cannot afford to wait until the vaccine rollout is advanced before we act, so the government must explore all options at this time and provide a credible plan for maintaining this support to millions of people who rely on these Covid-secure facilities to stay strong and healthy.
“Furthermore, the UK governments must protect this sector before it becomes too late.”