Elite athletes and professional sports teams in NI given go-ahead to return to outdoor training – BBC News

Ulster Rugby players are among those who will be able to return to training

Elite athletes and professional sports teams in Northern Ireland have been given the go-ahead to return to outdoor training.

Amendments to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions announced by the Executive apply to elite grant-funded athletes and players in professional leagues.

Olympians and paralympians will benefit as will those involved in professional rugby and international cricket.

The decision does not permit a return to competitive sport.

The Executive also said in a statement that proper management arrangements should be in place at the training facilities to comply with Covid-19-related advice.

“The past number of months have been difficult for everyone and, while we do not want to become complacent, the Executive has decided now is the time to start to ease down on the restrictions that saw all sporting activities cease,” Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said.

“As an initial step towards elite sports returning to competition, we recognise the need to put arrangements in place to allow our local elite athletes and teams to return to collective training.

“This decision was not taken lightly and was based on the most current scientific and medical advice and it is still the first tentative steps to getting sport going again.”

The Executive statement added that sports governing bodies should continue to engage with staff in SportNI, who developed a Framework for a Return to Sport, for guidance with regard to their specific protocols.

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