UK competitive sports will be allowed to resume as of today, offering a boost for sportsbooks who’ve been struggling for the past few months.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published an update of its ‘Elite Sports Guidance’ over the weekend just gone.
All sporting events will have to be played behind closed doors, while the safety of athletes must be ensured and venue hygiene standards met.
These changes form part of the government’s continued easing of the UK lockdown, which has been in place since 20th March.
Sports allowed to return, but things will be different for a while
The government’s guidelines outline that spectators will not be allowed to attend events, whether that be football, horse racing or anything in between.
Where possible, it will be obligatory for personnel and players to travel individually and by private transport. There will also be a one-way system of movement for people and vehicles around each venue.
Prior to entry being permitted, screening tests for coronavirus symptoms will be carried out. If somebody is suspected of catching the virus, they will be sent home and have to self-isolate.
Other practicalities include the limited use of dressing rooms, though showers are allowed in accordance with government guidelines. Social distancing will be enforced where possible, including for goal celebrations and player disputes between referees.
DCMS Secretary of the State Oliver Dowden spoke about the government’s green light for the return of sport, saying the following.
“The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.
“This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.
“This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.”
Revival for the sports betting industry
Sports betting operators will no doubt welcome the Premier League’s planned 17th June return, which includes a jam-packed schedule. Games will be played almost every day until the proposed 2019/2020 campaign ending in August, with a much shorter-than-usual break before the 2020/2021 season begins.
Lower down, English Football League (EFL) officials have confirmed that the Championship will resume on 20th June. It’s planned that the play-offs for said division will take place later in the summer.
As far as horse racing is concerned, the first post-lockdown race will take place in Newcastle today. Royal Ascot will also go ahead between 16th and 20th June with a 36-race schedule laid out.