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Matt Hancock says Government wants grassroots football back ‘as soon as we safely can

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Professor Chris Whitty says some changes in way game is played may be required for it to return before a vaccine is found

The easing of some lockdown measures last week saw golf courses in England permitted to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, with basketball, tennis and fishing gave the green light subject to safety protocols.

As a contact sport, the date of football’s resumption on a grassroots level is unknown, although Hancock remains hopeful the public can be allowed to play the sport before a vaccine is found.

Speaking at the government’s daily briefing on Thursday, Hancock said: “I very much hope we don’t have to wait for a vaccine. Some of the projects we’re putting in place like this testing and tracing are there to try and hold the number of new cases down whilst allowing more social distancing measures to be lifted.”

He added: “We want grassroots football back as soon as we safely can.”
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, added that the public may have to play football with rule changes before a vaccine is found.”So I definitely hope that football will be available – possibly with some degree of change of how it’s played, there may have to be some ways we think it through – in advance of a vaccine,” Professor Whitty said.”My very strong hope, and I’m sure this is a strong hope of everybody’s, is football is well before we get right out to that right-hand end of that path.”

Testing has allowed the Premier League to enter Phase One of training ahead of a potential return to action in mid-June, while Championship players will be given the option to self-test for coronavirus ahead of a planned return to training on Monday, however, some players are refusing to return till its safe to do so.