Coronavirus: Sports medical experts set for talks on government lockdown policies

Sporting medical experts will meet virtually on Friday to discuss what contingency plans are needed if government restrictions change in the coming weeks, which might allow elite sportsmen and women to resume a fuller training schedule.

Medical officials from football, rugby, cricket and racing will be joined in the meeting by representatives of Olympic and Paralympic sports, as well other professional disciplines such as boxing.

The Office of the Chief Medical Officer will be represented by a deputy along with officials from the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) who have previously chaired cross-sport meetings.

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No decisions will be made, however, the meeting will look at what fuller training for elite sportspeople looks like if current social distancing and other coronavirus measures are reviewed and altered.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK’s lockdown exit strategy would be outlined next week, and confirmed that the country was “past the peak” of the outbreak.

The group on Friday will discuss what conditions are required for sportsmen and women to partake in more comprehensive training again, what testing regimes would be needed, and how it could work practically.

Plans for how sport could work behind-closed-doors will also be examined.

Public health guidelines will determine how sport moves forward from its current position only if the advice from Government allows it – professional athletes will not be treated any differently from the public during this pandemic.

The Government is currently targeting a June return for the Premier League, with some top-flight clubs having already returned to training, albeit abiding by strict social distancing measures.

Premier League players will have to cover their faces as part of new rules to allow a safe return to full training.

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