English sport cleared to return in further boost to operators

By Iqbal Johal

Professional sport in England will return from today (1 June) after the UK Government approved the resumption of domestic competitions behind closed doors.

The announcement by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, means the first horseracing meeting since 17 March will take place at Newcastle at 1pm on Monday afternoon.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) had previously proposed 18 flat-race meetings in the first eight days, with Royal Ascot scheduled to start on 16 June; races will be limited to 12 starters in each race.

Snooker will also resume on 1 June with the Championship League in Milton Keynes.

It was announced last Thursday the English football Premier League will return on 17 June, while the Championship is set to follow suit on 20 June.

Key protocols must be carried out across all returning sport, including individual travel, coronavirus screening prior to entry, strict social distancing measures, limited dressing room usage, and with all competitions appointing a COVID-19 officer.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, said: "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.

"Football, tennis, horseracing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly."

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