The government has released a new COVID guide for sports and sports events, outlining that partners and elite sport organisations should all work collectively to ensure that competitions can be staged safely.

As elite sport competitions are typically delivered in partnership by multiple organisations, there may be crossover in responsibilities between those involved.

The Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) has highlighted, in the release, the minimum standards that sports competition delivery partners should follow, which read: “Agreement over the roles and responsibilities and command, control and coordination arrangements between the competition delivery partners and the elite sport organisation. 

“A decision-making structure and agreed procedure in place to modify, restrict, postpone or cancel the competition, should this be required or indicated by government guidance or public health data/developments. 

“Any measures required to comply with government/PHE guidelines (relating to sport-specific rules, technical requirements or equipment) are agreed and put in place by the national/international governing body for that sport.

“Where the competition organiser and venue operator are not the same person, those two parties should enter into a venue-use agreement to ensure that all relevant matters are appropriately addressed.”

Furthermore, all professional sports should now take further cautions in securing appropriate ventilation such as opening doors, windows and air vents where possible, maximising mechanical ventilation and encouraging the use of outdoor areas.

Regular cleaning protocols have also been highlighted, including routine sanitisation of all areas accessed by elite athletes, support staff and facilities staff at the beginning and end of the training day, deep cleaning and more frequent cleaning of higher risk areas.

Currently, face masks are not compulsory at sports events, and the report has clarified that this will continue to be the case. However, it is being suggested that organisations should encourage their staff/volunteers, athletes and visitors to wear a face covering where they will be in enclosed and crowded spaces, but not when taking part in sport.

Finally, in terms of working in sports, the statement suggests that measures should be put in place to reduce contact between staff and customers. 

This includes: “Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible, using screens or barriers to separate people or using back-to-back or side-to-side working for staff, instead of face-to-face, and using fixed teams, partnering or cohorting, so that each person works with only a few others.”

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