KIDS’ grassroots sport WON’T continue – but they can carry on playing football at school, the Culture Secretary confirmed today.
Oliver Dowden disappointed children across the country as he laid out the new rules for outdoor sports for the lockdown today.
In a Q&A Twitter post, Mr Dowden said kids’ grassroots football “will be permitted in school settings”.
But he added: “Unfortunately we need to pause grassroots sport outside school to reduce the transmission risk from households mixing. As soon as we can resume this, we will.”
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government was “prioritising schools and activities in the school setting” including football.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said: “We have made a real national priority to keep schools open.
“You can continue doing the usual activities you do during a school day – school sport and other activities”
He said extra curricular activities such as football could continue but Mr Jenrick warned there are “risks in encourage people to mix” with people from other households.
And he said “that does increase quite significantly the contact they have” as he tried to explain the Government’s bizarre rules on kids’ football.
It comes after MPs demanded Boris Johnson change the rules and allow kids to keep playing footie during the 4 week national shut down.
Labour MP Kevan Jones said in the Commons yesterday: “Participation in sport is vital for our nation’s physical and mental health
“The Prime Minister on Saturday night triumphantly announced that Premier League would continue but the announcement today means local and amateur football would not be allowed to continue.”
“Golf clubs and gyms are going to be closed despite their valiant efforts to ensure they are Covid safe.”
Mr Jones demanded the PM release evidence proving it was necessary to prevent people enjoying a game of football or tennis match.
And MP Damian Collins has written to Oliver Dowden to demand “outdoor youth sports, including team sports like football” be allowed to continue.
He argued: “Young people will be currently allowed to continue with sport at school, and we believe that the risks to the spread of the coronavirus from outdoor grassroots youth sport would be minimal”.
Culture and Committee Chair Julian Knight has urged the “blanket ban” on outdoor sports to be lifted while Labour are also calling for “wellbeing” activities to be allowed.
But Boris Johnson repeatedly ruled out tennis, golf, swimming and other outdoor activities.
He said “unpicking one thing” would threaten the integrity and effectiveness of the “whole package”.
Today, Michael Gove, the cabinet office minister, caused chaos over the rules on outdoor sports, by wrongly claiming that people could play tennis.
Mr Gove said last night: “The key thing here is that you’ll probably be able to continue to play singles tennis.
“The guidance that we have is that if people are appropriately socially distanced they can take exercise with one other person, that’s why I mentioned golf.”
And this morning Mr Gove was forced to apologise for not knowing the rules.
In a tweet, he said: “My apologies, I got this wrong. Outdoor leisure facilities including tennis courts and golf courses will be closed from Thursday.”