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Elite professional sport will be allowed to continue in England, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing a new national shutdown.
Starting Tuesday, everyone in the country will have to stay home after a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, mostly caused by a new variant of the virus.
The latest lockdown, the third since the coronavirus pandemic began, is expected to last at least six weeks, by which time the government hopes to have administered the first dose of a vaccine to the most vulnerable.
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The shutdown had raised fears that professional sports would be postponed like last year, but that will not be the case. Action from the Premier League, EFL, SPFL and WSL will continue as normal, with the testing protocols that have been in effect during the 2020/21 season.
With very little to wait for the next few months, many will appreciate the respite from being able to enjoy and watch professional sports. However, there are obvious concerns in the game amid a significant increase in cases among clubs across the country.
Newcastle was recently forced to close its training ground amid a COVID-19 outbreak at the club, while championship duo Sheffield Wednesday and Derby followed suit in recent days after a series of positive tests.
Matches have also recently been postponed in the Premier League, with Fulham’s planned matches against Tottenham and Burnley canceled on short notice. Manchester City meanwhile have felt the rush with several players testing positive, including Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and Ederson. They also had a game against Everton postponed.
There have also been unavoidable – and frankly ridiculous – breaches of the restrictions by several top-tier players, many of whom were photographed breaking the government’s previous set of rules over the Christmas and New Years period.
The same mistakes are unlikely to be made again, as the country prepares to remain locked in for the foreseeable future.