Monday, December 11, 2023

Grassroots hockey set for March resumption

Grassroots hockey in England is set to be one of the first sports to have restrictions lifted from the end of March under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the plan is for organised outdoor sports to start again from March 29 during Step 1 of easing restrictions.

After school sports clubs for pupils will begin again from March 8, while organised outdoor sport can be permitted for both children and adults from March 29 and “will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies.”

It is unclear at this stage whether some sports may have stricter limits due to having more physical contact.

England Hockey this month laid out its intent on concluding the domestic campaign with a shortened season. “We await further detail and anticipate making another statement within the next 72 hours,” EH said in response to Monday’s announcements.

Once the government’s third step kicks in, it is reported that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed back into stadiums for sport. This is planned from May 17.

Great Britain host several nations in the FIH Pro League between May 6-16 and the governing body said it would be making a further announcement “as soon as possible”.

Asked about grassroots sports, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday: “The simple way to look at this is that outdoor is safer and therefore we prioritise versus indoor.

“Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, outdoor organised team sports, grassroots football – will go back on March 29.”

“That is not an argument to say we can have crowds back at football matches. But sports involving small numbers of players or sports for children: they could start safely today.”

Children will be able to play sports indoors from April 12.

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