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Up to six can exercise together and a third of Premier League games will be free to view

PUBLISHED: 16:48 30 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:28 31 May 2020

There's a good chance some of Norwich City's remaining Premier League games will be on free to view TV.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

There's a good chance some of Norwich City's remaining Premier League games will be on free to view TV. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

The government has announced guidelines which will allow live sport to return from next week - and also eased restrictions on people exercising.

Horse racing is due to resume at Newcastle on Monday with the first major meeting, involving the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket, coming on June 6. Picture: PAHorse racing is due to resume at Newcastle on Monday with the first major meeting, involving the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket, coming on June 6. Picture: PA

Groups of up to six people from different households will be able to exercise together from Monday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said.

Mr Dowdon said the government wanted to “re-establish some normality in other parts of our lives” as he announced the return of live sport.

He told the Downing Street daily briefing: “For more than two months after sport stopped and after weeks of round-the-clock discussions with medical experts and professional sports bodies, I’m delighted to announce today that the Government has published guidance which allows competitive sport to resume behind closed doors from Monday at the earliest.”

He said that “football, tennis, horseracing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly.”

Mr Dowden said various measures needed to be in place for sporting events to go ahead safely.

He told the daily briefing: “That includes a screening process for coronavirus symptoms at the venue, a one-way system for people and vehicles, minimising the use of dressing rooms and of course maintaining social distancing wherever that is possible.”

He also set “two challenges” for the return of football, which has a “special place in our national life”.

He said: “First, that a reasonable number of remaining Premier League games will be broadcast free-to-air.

“Second, that the financial benefits of returning will be shared throughout the entire football family.

“I’m glad to confirm today that a third of matches to finish the season will now be free to view including the Liverpool v Everton derby and live Premier League football will be on the BBC for the first time in its history.”

Norwich City still have nine Premier League games as they fight relegation plus an FA Cup quarter final against Manchester United.

On groups of up to six people from different households being able to exercise together, Mr Dowdon said: “Today I am also glad to confirm that we are relaxing the rules on exercise further so that from Monday people will be able to exercise with up to five others from different households, crucially, so long as they remain two metres apart.

“That means that people who play team sports will be able to play together, and do things like conditioning and fitness sessions that don’t involve physical contact.”

“The British sporting recovery has begun,” he added.

The latest Government guidelines form stage three of the process of bringing sport back from the coronavirus lockdown. Stage two, which allowed for close-contact training for elite athletes, was published last Monday.

Horse racing is due to resume at Newcastle on Monday with the first major meeting, involving the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket, coming on June 6.

Premier League football is scheduled to restart on June 17 with the English Football League set to follow later in the month, subject to club votes and approval from police and other safety bodies.

Mr Dowden was asked at the briefing about the tension between Premier League clubs who want their stadiums to be used for the first matches, and police forces who will help determine which venues will be used.

Mr Dowden said: “It is up to each individual sport to apply (Government) guidelines and determine the way in which they do so.”

He added that police and local authorities will determine together which venues are appropriate for matches.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said fans congregating outside stadiums as football returns is “clearly a police matter”.

He said: “There has to be enough understanding that the venue can cope with the segregation and the organisation and the social distancing right up until the kick off whistle until the final whistle to make that the safest possible experience for everybody there.

“And that’s going to be a crucial factor as well in choosing these venues.”


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