Thursday, February 22, 2024

Grassroots hockey at risk after new lockdown measures in England

Grassroots hockey in England is at risk of being shut down for five weeks following the lockdown which will start on Thursday until December 2.

Elite sports will be allowed to continue and it is too early to tell whether GB’s upcoming home Pro League matches against Germany in mid-November will take place in terms of visitors travelling. Other elite sports in England can continue due to the Covid testing in place.

THP understands that England Hockey won’t get clarity from the government for a few days based on previous experience, while an EH statement on Saturday said they are “awaiting the full implications for recreational sport.”

Hockey has been able to start its season since September, but the tiered restrictions in recent weeks has seen regional leagues forced to restructure to more localised fixtures. But the UK government confirmed there would be no exemptions for organised team sports under the five-week national restrictions.

The government also said that leisure centres and gyms will close, as will other indoor and outdoor centres, which will put further pressure on those clubs linked to facilities and those playing at school pitches.

Exercise for unlimited periods outdoors can take place, either with people from own households or one-to-one with one person from another household. It is also not known how lockdown will affect under-18 outdoor school sport.

In Europe, the Dutch and Belgium leagues have been suspended. The English hockey Premier Division is due to resume next weekend, with the GB teams currently playing in Belgium.

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