Plans to ensure golf is the first sport to return after the second national coronavirus lockdown were drawn by lawmakers on Saturday ahead of a parliamentary debate on the “ridiculous” closure of courses.
The Telegraph Sport’s revelation that gyms and recreation centers would be allowed to reopen after December 2 sparked calls for outdoor sports and children’s sports to be allowed to resume as well.
This included golf, a debate to be held at Westminster Hall on Monday afternoon after a petition to exempt courses from the list of sites required to close due to Covid-19 has drawn more than a quarter million signatures.
Craig Tracey, the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for golf, told Telegraph Sport that Boris Johnson was “unlikely” to turn around on the current restrictions.
But he added, “What we’re working towards now is getting the first sport back on track on December 2 or 3. It was the first time for the last time because we were able to present a really good deal.
Tracey said it was “very clear” that the refusal to exempt golf courses from the lockdown was “done centrally” by the Prime Minister rather than the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and sports.
“Our discussions with the ministers are really very favorable,” he added. “So I think if they could get it back it would be back now.
Julian Knight, vice-chairman of the APPG and also chairman of the DCMS select committee, said it was “ridiculous” that golf had been banned given that it was “built for social distancing”.
“I see fewer cases of closing a golf course than a gymnasium,” he added.
“I can sometimes see the case of gymnasiums because you expel aerosols, you are in an enclosed space. While on golf courses, you are in the open air and you are more than two meters apart.
Knight also called for the reopening of tennis courts and the resumption of sport for out-of-school children, after supporting the Telegraph’s “Keep Kids Active in Lockdown” campaign.
This was echoed by Lisa Wainwright, the executive director of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, who said organized sport for children should return “without a shadow of a doubt”.
She also praised the prospect of gymnasiums and recreation centers reopening next month, saying: “It would be absolutely the right decision from a mental health perspective, from a physical health perspective, for the new. year.
Huw Edwards, Managing Director of Ukactive, which represents the latter sector, added: “If this is true, it will be a very positive step.”
The two also reiterated their calls for an industry-wide government bailout worth up to £ 1.5bn after last week’s £ 300m bailout for 11 sports .
Wainwright said: “As far as the 11 sports are concerned, this is a good start for the income they will have lost. But then there are over 300 sports in all of our communities that we know will need the sport in the medium term.
Wainwright revealed that the SRA had undertaken “a huge piece of research” to determine the precise size of the bailout the industry would need when current emergency funding dries up at the end of the year.
“We want to be clear with the government,” she said. “They’ve been pretty good at helping us as a sector to start with Sport England, but we want the evidence to be able to show the Treasury the real need.