Coronavirus wrap: England v Barbarians postponed and Tour of Britain called off
England’s friendly against the Barbarians and the Tour of Britain have been called off due to coronavirus as some of the British Sailing Team return to the water for the first time in two months.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have far reaching effects in sport, with the calendar being vastly disrupted along with the lives of athletes across the spectrum.
England’s regular summer fixture with the Barbarians is one of the many events to fall, with the June 21 clash at Twickenham postponed due to the ongoing crisis.
“The match is due to be rescheduled to later in the year, subject to government guidelines and broader international match scheduling,” a statement read.
Tour of Britain organisers have announced that the event will not be taking place on September 6-13 due to Covid-19, with the first ever visit to Cornwall and overall finish in Aberdeen instead taking place in 2021.
A statement read: “The decision has been taken in light of the ongoing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes continuing with the planning and organisation of the 2020 race impractical.
“Across the UK there are significant doubts around the potential to stage large-scale public events and gatherings such as the Tour of Britain as early as September and while any form of social distancing remains in place and there isn’t a vaccine available, people’s health and safety must come first.”
Spectators are not expected to be allowed at sporting events for many months to come, but Government guidance on the phased return to training for elite sports means some athletes are able to return to work.
All watersports, including sailing, windsurfing and kiteboarding are now allowed in England, meaning the British Sailing Team are cleared for solo sailing and double-handed disciplines, although crews who live apart cannot sail together.
Mark Robinson, Royal Yachting Association Olympic Performance Manager, said: “We are also pleased to receive the DCMS guidance for elite sport and we will be working to satisfy its requirements in order to enable us to safely proceed to organised training as soon as possible.
“The British Sailing Team remains very mindful of the risks of Covid-19 and the extra burden any accidents might place on the emergency services, so all athletes have received specific guidance to minimise these risks.
“We intend to heed the Prime Minister’s words that we must take small steps and that this is going to be a long and gradual process to get back to normal.”
Returning to training in football is harder given the nature of the sport and Brighton striker Glenn Murray has questioned the Premier League’s plan to resume action in mid-June.
“Football isn’t necessarily a necessity – it’s a game, it’s a sport,” he told Sky Sports. “I mean, what if we go through all this rigmarole of trying to get back started, and we have a second peak and we’re stopped anyway?
“I just can’t understand after just sort of loosening the lockdown why we’re in such a rush to get it back. Why can’t we just wait sort of a month or so to see if things go to plan?”
Put to Murray that the phasing is in place for a gradual return to action, he said: “Yeah, it is but I mean what’s the point in getting halfway through the phase and stopping?
“Why not see how the country deal with softening the lockdown first before we even think about starting unnecessary sport when people are dying all around us and the death rates are still high?”