Coronavirus wrap: F1 returns and rugby union to begin non-contact training

Sport’s return from the lockdown continued to gather momentum as Formula One confirmed two grands prix would be held at Silverstone and England’s top rugby union clubs were given the green light to resume training.

Silverstone will host back-to-back races on August 2 and 9 as Formula One returns with an eight-race closed-doors European schedule starting next month.

The FIA, motor sport’s governing body, has approved plans for the campaign to begin with successive races at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 5 and 12 before the Hungarian Grand Prix takes place a week later.

The British Grand Prix and the Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix will then take place before further events in Spain, Belgium and Italy.

Participants will be required to travel on charter flights and undergo regular testing while Silverstone’s place on the calendar has been confirmed as the UK Government prepares to announce an exemption for elite sports amid plans for international arrivals to go into a 14-day quarantine.

An F1 statement read: “Due to the ongoing fluidity of the Covid-19 situation internationally, we will be finalising the details of the wider calendar and hope to publish that in the coming weeks with an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before we complete our season in December.”

Premiership and Championship rugby union clubs have been given provisional authorisation to begin non-contact training from the Professional Game Board, subject to meeting safety criteria.

Clubs must educate all players and support staff to ensure they can make an informed decision on whether to restart training. They must also appoint a Covid-19 manager and a medical lead, set out hygiene standards for training facilities, provide appropriate personal protective equipment and conduct daily screening, including temperature checks.

Stage one protocols allow for individuals or small groups to train in the same facility, while adhering to social distancing rules. No timescale has been set for a return to contact training or games.

Elite sport returned in England on Monday with the first of two consecutive meetings at Newcastle Racecourse and day one of snooker’s Championship League in Milton Keynes.

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