What does the national lockdown mean for grassroots sport? Can U18s still play football? Elite sport to continue

Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 1:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 1:23 pm

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday evening, England is set to enter a third national lockdown as of midnight.

As was the case during the first lockdown imposed last year, people are being told to stay at home, while non-essential shops, services, and schools will remain closed.

But what do the new measures mean for sport, and will it be able to continue in the coming weeks?

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We’ve answered the key questions to tell you everything you need to know about how the new lockdown will impact competition across the country.

Which sport will be allowed to carry on during lockdown?

As per new measures, the Premier League and other elite leagues in football and other sports will be allowed to carry on in the coming weeks.

That includes the EFL, the National League, and the National League North and South. 

In the women’s game, the WSL and the Championship will be able to continue.

Which sport will be suspended?

Anything deemed ‘non-elite’ will be postponed during lockdown.

In particular, this includes steps three to six of the National League System, tiers three to seven of the Women's Football Pyramid, the Women's FA Cup – which is classified as 'non-elite' up to and including the third round – Regional National League System feeder leagues, and the Barclays FA WSL Academy League.

What does the new lockdown mean for grassroots sport?

All indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots sport, including under-18s will be suspended.

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is exempt from the new measures, and as such will be allowed to continue. 

Away from team sports, indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed, as will outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, and outdoor swimming pools. Archery, driving and shooting ranges, as well as riding arenas, must also close, as per government guidelines. 

Where can I exercise and who can I exercise with?

As was the case during the first national lockdown, exercise in a public outdoor space is permitted once a day. 

As per the new measures, you may exercise by yourself, with the people you live with, or with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may also exercise with one person from another household when on your own.