By Ryan Brown
Following a lot of behind-the-scenes work involving the Scottish Government’s Active Scotland division, sportscotland and a range of partners across Scottish sport new guidance has been released to ease restrictions for sports training in Scotland.
On 11 June the government released guidance that allowed professional and performance athletes to return to outdoor training, whether alone or in group training, provided they followed reasonable physical distancing and put health and hygiene measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The guidance allowed professional athletes to travel more than five miles to their outdoor training, instead of the five-mile travel limit set for the ordinary public by the Scottish Government.
On Monday 29 June new guidance was published which further eases some restrictions surrounding sport and will, hopefully, continue to progress the safe return to sport for all. The changes allow professional and performance athletes to train indoors as long as they are following the appropriate safety and distancing protocols. Sportscotland will continue to provide guidance and approval for each sport to return to their venues, ensuring that all the appropriate safety protocols are followed by the performance athletes. The guidance also allows for groups of small numbers of athletes and support staff to interact and train with closer contact, allowing team sports to return to contact and tackling sessions.
sportscotland will have to implement numerous safety measures to allow performance and professional athletes to return to training, while a date for the the return of training for the wider public and non-professional athletes is still to be agreed, however, these new changes are a significant step forward.
Forbes Dunlop, sportscotland’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a media release: “We all want to see a return to sport at all levels as soon as it is safe to do so. This new guidance will be welcome news for performance and professional athletes in Scotland and those who work with them and represents a positive step as we seek to rebuild the sporting system at all levels. While this is good news, public health and wellbeing being remains the most pressing priority.”
Elite swimmers may be the first to return to their ‘new’ training after Scottish Swimming stated that elite swimmers will be provided with the opportunity to return to training over the following week.
Euan Lowe, CEO of Scottish Swimming, said: “This is a good step in the right direction and will help our athletes keep their Olympic and Paralympic preparations on track. We have been working hard with partners sportscotland, British Swimming and the University of Stirling to support this process and see this as an important first step to help inform the wider return to aquatics across the whole sport.
“In the meantime, guidance documents about a return to aquatics in Scotland continue to be developed in a careful and considered way for a return for the whole sport, with Scottish Swimming working with key partners including the Scottish Government, sportscotland, Public Health Scotland and pool providers across Scotland. These documents can be published once approved by sportscotland and the Scottish Government.”
Although the return of sport for all could still be months away, these new changes are incredibly important at paving the way for all of Scotland to get back to sport, provided everyone continues to follow government guidelines and do the correct thing during the ongoing pandemic to ensure there is no further outbreaks.
The latest government documents with these new changes can be found HERE.