Sport England chief hails governing bodies’ handling of coronavirus outbreak

Chief executive of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth has praised how governing bodies have handled the coronavirus outbreak.

Sport has shut down this month as the country tries to get control of the global pandemic.

Football will not return until May at the earliest while the Rugby Football Union has ended the 2019/20 season with immediate effect for all league, cup and county rugby except the Gallagher Premiership.

The Home Country Athletics Federations, with UK Athletics, also suspended all planned face-to-face organised athletics activity until the end of April last week.

“I speak to the leaders of the governing bodies, every single one of them is making the absolutely correct difficult decision,” said Hollingsworth.

“In the normal course of life these events would be a high point in the calendar, in reality against the situation we have all got to take a completely different view.

“We are all missing it but let’s be real, it’s not the priority, it will come back and we’ll love it all the more.

This Girl Can Parliamentary Reception
Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth (centre) has praised how governing bodies have handled the coronavirus outbreak (Steven Paston/PA)

“Everyone is starting to understand there is a new normal and we have to adapt. The limitations which have been put in place are extremely important things for us to observe.”

Hollingsworth also sympathised with the IOC as they debate whether to postpone the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.

“I’m delighted that’s not my decision,” he added. “It’s an incredibly hard call in terms of the scale of those two events (Olympics and Paralpympics) against the reality of the situation we find ourselves in.”

Sport England is urging people to stay active even if they are self isolating at home with Hollingsworth underlining the importance of exercise.

“In the home, as this is where the focus will increasingly be, there is a good amount people can still do to stay active and think why it’s beneficial for their physical and mental well-being,” he told BBC News.

Keeping active in and around your home is a great way to take a break from work. Find some handy exercise ideas for those who are well and have no symptoms.

We'd love you to share your tips for staying active using #StayInWorkOut

— Sport England (@Sport_England) March 20, 2020

“There is so much online and there are huge options for people to build communities and be active. It’s been a growing phenomenon anyway and a lot of providers are starting to make it free.

“Whether it’s exercises, stretches or work outs, there is an enormous amount you can do if you stay in and work out.

“If you are going for a bike ride it’s a extremely socially distancing thing to do, similarly going for a run. It’s really important to get out while we can.

“We should all recognise the new changed environment and being active and keeping it as part of your daily life has never been more important.”

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