Last night, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would enter a new national lockdown in a bid to tackle the new strain of COVID-19. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a similar lockdown that would last throughout January. The good news for those in the elite sports industry, however, is that they will be permitted to continue operating.
Green-light to go ahead
Following the announcement of the national lockdown, the elite sports industry in the UK has been given the green light to go ahead. This includes the Premier League which football fans and betting operators will be happy to hear.
In order to continue operating as normal, the Premier League and other elite sports in the UK will be required to conduct strict testing and follow COVID-19 safety protocols. This is something that is welcomed by elite sports managers who want to continue doing what they love.
Horse racing to go ahead behind closed doors
Alongside elite football matches, horseracing and greyhound racing will go ahead as planned despite the lockdown.
The British Horseracing Authority spoke on the matter saying: “Following this evening’s broadcast, we can confirm that racing will continue behind closed doors during the upcoming national lockdown.”
Managing Director of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, Mark Bird said: “We cannot be complacent in terms of us continuing to race and I would implore everyone involved in the sport to play their part to ensure that social distancing measures, the wearing of appropriate PPE and communication at all levels is maintained.”
A blow to retail
The continuation of elite sports in the UK through the 2021 lockdown is great news for online operators hoping to cash in on the Premier League or horseracing. However, due to the lockdown in both England and Wales, the retail betting sector has taken a further blow.
All betting shops will be forced to close, including those that were previously allowed to open in tiers one, two and three.
With betting shops closed, we could see a rise in online sports betting over the next few weeks.