By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
On 31 October 2020, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a second lockdown, commencing on 5 November 2020 and ending on 2 December 2020, in an attempt to combat the rising number of Covid-19 infections and deaths. A Government minister has stated that the lockdown may last longer, depending on the rate of infections.
As far as grass roots and amateur sport is concerned, amongst other sports, the playing of golf and tennis will be banned, notwithstanding that outdoor exercise by individuals will be allowed - and, indeed, is encouraged by the Government - under the new restrictions.
There have been objections to these restrictions from both sides of the political divide.
The Conservative chairman of the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport Parliamentary Select Committee, Julian Knight, stated as follows:
“Today I was in touch with the minister for sport to request that the blanket ban on sports like tennis and golf be lifted.”
And he added:
“Government ought to allow the mixing of one other household in these socially distanced sports.”
Shadow sports minister, Alison McGovern, stated that:
“Sports face collapse … Yet again sport and physical wellbeing is an afterthought.”
Once again, it is a delicate balancing exercise trying to reconcile, on the one hand, the need to fight the Pandemic and, on the other hand, the need for people to stay physically and mentally safe and well during these strange and challenging times!