The UK Government says no professional athlete should be forced to return to training, stressing that choice should be “a personal one”.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issued a document on Wednesday featuring guidance designed to allow each sport to make a risk assessment on when it is safe for training to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The document is not legally binding and does not replace any Government or Public Health England advice, but is rather a set of recommended minimum practice guidance on a return to training.
Proposed measures include a deep cleaning of facilities and a regular screening of athletes and staff for COVID-19 symptoms before and after they enter, expected to be carried out by an appropriately trained healthcare professional.
All athletes and support staff will be expected to engage in a one-to-one check-in prior to any resumption of organised training, to ensure they have understood the sport-specific risks and mitigations, training site protocols in place, and are physically and mentally well enough to proceed.
“I know our sports stars are keen to get back to training and this guidance will enable them to do so in a safe way,” said Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for DCMS. “Our top priority is protecting the health of athletes, coaches and support staff.
“Enabling athletes to get match-fit is an important milestone towards restarting competitive sport behind closed doors – but we have not given a green light yet. We are clear that this can only happen on the advice of medical experts and when it is safe to do so.”
The guidelines have been put together following consultation involving athletes, coaches, chief medical officers, chief executives, performance and operations directors across a range of Olympic, Paralympic and other professional sports.