By Richard Bright

Britain’s elite hockey players could be allowed to head straight into close contact tackling when they are permitted to start training again.

Elite sports housed at Bisham Abbey are yet to determine when they can return to action, with Great Britain Hockey announcing that its senior squads won’t be returning in the next few weeks.

The government has now published ‘stage two’ of its five-stage guidance which enables competitive and close-contact training – including team sports tackling – in a bid for athletes to get match fit before any top level competition resumes.

Guidance stated: “Close contact training is required to replicate match formations and conditions, so that the sport-specific demands can be placed on the body, mind and senses.”

The guidance also said close contact training will only be allowed only when sports governing bodies and clubs say conditions are in place, following consultation with athletes, coaches and support staff.

Elie athletes will still have to social distance before and after training. Time spent closer than the permitted two metres in training should be kept to “a reasonable minimum”.

GB Hockey said last week: “We are monitoring the advice offered by the government and looking at a phased return to training for the senior international squads as soon as is appropriate.

“In addition, our other international activity including the Great Britain Elite Development Programme will not undertake any activity at present. We are in communication with athletes from this programme and updates in the coming weeks will provide more information.”

Stage three of the government’s plans are expected to centre around a return to professional sport next month.

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