Sports

Elite sport in England exempted from latest lockdown

Elite sport will continue to be allowed behind closed doors despite a new month-long lockdown being imposed across England by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday (Oct 31).

The strict series of measures reintroduced to try and curb rising coronavirus infection rates will begin from Thursday, Nov 5 and last until Dec 2.

Pubs and restaurants will shut unless serving takeaway food, while all leisure and entertainment venues and non-essential shops will close.

However, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed that elite sport will continue to enjoy an exemption to play behind closed doors.

“Travel to a place of work will be permitted,” he tweeted. “This includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors.”

The 2019/20 English Premier League season was suspended for three months between March and June during the first UK lockdown to bring the virus under control.

Rugby, tennis and horse racing are among the other sports that will benefit from high-profile events being allowed to continue behind closed doors.

The season-ending ATP Tour finals, which will feature the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, are due to be played in London’s O2 from Nov 15-22.

“Following the British Prime Minister’s announcement, the ATP Finals will continue as planned behind closed doors,” said an ATP statement.

“We will continue to work with all the relevant authorities both at national and local level to ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to ensure the safety of all those involved in the tournament.”

Rugby’s Autumn Nations Cup will see the countries that normally compete in the Six Nations joined by Georgia and Fiji for a four-week tournament from Nov 13 that will replace the normal November internationals. – REUTERS

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