Sport Wales chief says patience and unity are key to ending coronavirus shutdown – BBC News


Tennis is among sports in Wales awaiting the go-ahead to resume

Sports in Wales need to be “patient and unified” as they look to resume after the coronavirus lockdown, says the head of Sport Wales.

Acting chief executive Brian Davies says it would be best “not to rush and get it right” to help avoid a second peak of the virus.

Another lockdown, potentially in the autumn, would be a “disaster” for sport, he added.

In England, all elite athletes are allowed to train again.

In addition, anyone can take part outdoor sports such as golf, tennis or watersports if they maintain social distancing.

But in Wales, only golfers and professional footballers are allowed to play again under current regulations.

Horse racing will resume in Wales on 15 June while regional rugby players are not expected to return to training until July.

Tennis Wales has said it was “devastated” that it could not restart yet.

The Welsh Government will review on 18 June whether to re-open outdoor sports facilities and to let non-professional elite athletes train again.

“We’ve got two weeks now to try to convince the Welsh Government this is a worthy thing to do,” Davies told BBC Sport Wales.

“Let’s do this together and present a unified argument rather than “we think our sport is better and more ready”. If we do it together, we’ll have a better chance of convincing the government.

“Everybody is working towards a return, but in everybody’s interests so that we get it right and haven’t then got to lock down again. Because that would be a disaster.”

‘Getting it right is critical’

More than 60 sport governing bodies in Wales have been taking part in discussions with the Welsh government for several weeks.

Davies admits it is a “complex” situation and sports have to take a long-term approach.

“It’s better not to rush this and get it right,” continued Davies.

“If it takes you a bit longer [to restart after the guidance changes], that’s not critical. Getting it right is critical.

“If we were to have a second peak in the autumn when UV levels aren’t as strong and the virus is probably surviving longer outdoors, then any easing of a future lockdown would take longer.

“And it would take even longer to recover to some sort of normality.”

Sport Wales has established an £8.1m resilience fund to help sports in Wales restart once they get the go ahead.

But Davies believes many will have to adapt and be innovative until a vaccine is widely available.

“I think there’s going to be a need for some basic medical monitoring at all levels,” he said.

“The testing regimes are going to be part of life. The PPE element, the cleaning of equipment. It’s going to be different, but everyone will adjust quite quickly, I’m sure.

“Rugby doesn’t have to be full contact any more – it can be touch or seven-a-side. Football could be played in smaller numbers so you’re reducing the risk.

“There’s lot of things sports can do to adapt. I think there’ll be some interesting adaptations coming out.”

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