Elite athletes and professional sportsmen and women, including professional rugby, can resume performance training under new guidance published by the UK government yesterday day.
Guidance on step one has been published on gov.uk today and comes into effect immediately.
Step two will incorporate a level of social clustering so that players can get match-fit ahead of any resumption of competitive, top-level sport once medical experts advise this is safe and appropriate. Additional guidance will follow on step two in due course.
The plan intends to minimise the risk to the elite sports community, while also minimising any pressure elite sport places on healthcare workers and the wider community during any resumption of training. Like all changes to current measures, it will be kept under review under the Government’s COVID alert system.
The guidance is a significant step towards a safe resumption of live sport behind closed doors.
The guidance, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has been developed in close consultation with the Deputy Chief Medical Officers of England, Public Health England and medical representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies.
"The announcement today from DCMS, that elite sports can restart is welcome and enables us to consider plans for a return to individual training with social distancing in selected performance training facilities across Premiership Rugby," said a Rugby Football Union statement.
"While much has been done in recent weeks to establish protocols around a safe return to training and ultimately competition, there is still significant work to do and discussions to be had with players and staff before any form of training can resume, their welfare will be at the heart of our decisions.
"This announcement relates only to the restarting of individual training with social distancing in Premiership Rugby. The RFU will continue to work with government and other sporting bodies to guide the return to training in the community game, Greene King IPA Championship, Rugby Sevens and Tyrrells Premier 15s ahead of next season. We will continue to keep everyone informed when RFU guidance is issued."