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Major sporting events to go ahead as Government announces quarantine exemptions

Major sporting events to go ahead as Government announces quarantine exemptions
© Reuters
The new measures mean that Silverstone can stage Formula One races.

Selected sports stars are to be exempt from quarantine requirements when competing in the UK, the culture secretary has announced.

The proviso is that those involved will instead live and work in "bubbled" environments behind closed doors, Oliver Dowden has said.

The new measures mean that – as far as the Government is concerned – Silverstone can stage planned grands prix on August 2 and 9, English football clubs can host European ties and the snooker World Championships can go ahead in Sheffield.

Silverstone is scheduled to host two races in August
Silverstone is scheduled to host two races in August (Martin Rickett/PA)

Competitors involved in these events will be granted quarantine exemptions, as will players involved in the British Masters golf tournament.

International cricketers are also now formally exempt, although individual special arrangements have already been made for the touring West Indies and Pakistan teams this summer.

Other people essential to the staging of events such as officials, coaches, medics, mechanics and incoming members of the media will also be permitted to travel without quarantine.

The new measures have been announced by culture secretary Oliver Dowden
The new measures have been announced by culture secretary Oliver Dowden (Isabel Infantes/PA)

In return sporting authorities and event organisers must put in place stringent protocols to ensure that they have a minimal impact on public health during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes after negotiations between Government and sporting authorities.

Dowden said: "I'm very pleased that we've agreed exemptions from border health measures for a limited number of athletes and events staff, which means the British summer of sport is back on.

"I am grateful to the sports governing bodies who have worked closely with us to put in place stringent protocols to ensure these events can go ahead safely.

"It will mean that fans of the British Grand Prix, international cricket and Champions League football can look forward to yet more sporting action on home soil – a further boost to our national recovery."

The snooker World Championships will benefit from the changes
The snooker World Championships will benefit from the changes (Richard Sellers/PA)

Non-exempt travellers to the UK currently have to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in the country.

The news is part of a wider announcement that also includes film and television production in the UK.

No other sporting events have yet been identified for exemption but it is promised that more will soon receive clearance, including events in darts and horse racing.

There has been uncertainty over the venue for Manchester City's Champions League tie with Real Madrid
There has been uncertainty over the venue for Manchester City's Champions League tie with Real Madrid (Laurence Griffiths/NMC Pool)

Manchester City are due to host Real Madrid in the second leg of their delayed Champions League last-16 tie in August. Likewise Wolves and Manchester United are also scheduled to play at home in the Europa League, against Olympiakos and LASK respectively.

There had been suggestions these games could be moved to neutral venues but this increases the likelihood of European governing body UEFA allowing them to be played at home.

England begin a three-Test series against the West Indies next Wednesday, the British Masters at Close House starts on July 22 and the rearranged snooker World Championships begin on July 31.

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Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the British Grand Prix on July 14, 2019
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