The government has cleared elite sport to recommence behind closed doors from June 1st, following on from plans outlining the return of the Premier League.
Football in England has been halted since March, but the Premier League recently outlined its plans to return from June 17th.
Now, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, has confirmed that live elite sports can resume from the beginning of the month.
“The wait is over,” he said at the government’s daily briefing. “Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.
“This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.
“This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.”
Dowden also outlined plans for “a reasonable number” of the remaining Premier League games to be shown live on free-to-air TV, meaning the BBC will broadcast live matches for the first time since the league rebranded in 1992.
He added: “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.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has responded to the news, but admitted that plans for the 17th June restart are still dependent on the collective safety of those involved being confirmed.
“The Premier League welcomes the Government’s announcement today,” said Masters.
“All major sports, including the Premier League, have been working together with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to produce this Stage Three protocol.
“We could not have reached this point without the full support of the Government, especially DCMS, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer’s team.
“We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved. This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers – along with all our other stakeholders – as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.
“If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019/20 season in just over two weeks’ time.”