It’s been the question on many people’s lips since the lockdown due to Covid-19 began, but when will grassroots football return in Britain?
Though we are still no nearer finding the answer, on Thursday evening former Leicester City midfielder and now media man Robbie Savage posed the question in the Government’s daily briefing.
While the secretary of state, Matt Hancock, and chief medical officer Chris Whitty didn’t answer Savage’s exact question, it did get the game back on the agenda briefly, with many thousands of adults and children up and down the country desperate to play again.
So, when will grassroots football return to our fields, pitches and parks?
It’s still not a major priority in the grand scheme of things, and it’s hard to see how a contact team sport, like football, can be played amid this killer virus and the global health crisis it is leaving in its wake.
The FA issued an update of their policies, which included one-to-one coaching for players over 18, but kids must wait.
But with some individual and small group sessions of sport such as tennis, golf and athletics already taking place, the introduction of some format of football can’t be far off. Chris Whitty did offer a glimmer of hope.
“With all the things we are trying to do its about trying to release where we can but not take the risk we start having the transmission again,” he said.
“To have a league football game, which is a contact sport and does involve a larger number, the risks are greater. So at what stage will the rate be low enough that a group of 22 people coming into contact with one another, linking their households will be a safe thing to do?
“My expectation is that a vaccine before next year is very unlikely, so I definitely hope that football will be available, possibly with a degree in the way it is played – there may be some things we have to think through – in advance of a vaccine.
“Outdoors is safer than indoors, no doubt about it. But mixing large numbers of people in a contact sport has a higher risk of transmission this virus.”
Matt Hancock added: “Exercising on your own or with members of your household is nothing like football, but unfortunately these rules have to be in place because we’ve got to get a grip of this virus.”
“I very much hope we don’t have to wait a vaccine. We want grassroots football back as soon as we safely can.”
What are your views on grassroots football being played during the pandemic? Are there any formats of the game we could already be playing or training for? When will grassroots football return? Let us know your thoughts…
Meanwhile, if you want to train on your own try our lockdown challenges. Click here…