As widely report by the press, Covid-19 (otherwise known as the Coronavirus) is not a new virus, and belongs to the same ‘family’ of viruses as the common cold and, at the extreme end, the SARS and MERS Coronaviruses. The transmissibility of the virus is not yet known but it has been confirmed that Covid-19 has spread from person-to-person in a number of countries across Asia, and now Europe.
With the continued spread of Covid-19 on a global scale sports events organisers, sports leagues and sports teams, in addition to event organisers across the wider entertainment sector, face the prospect of potentially delaying or cancelling their events. This is a significant step to take and tournament and event organisers largely rely on government advice in their relevant jurisdiction to determine whether they should restrict attendance or, as a last resort, cancel or postpone their events.
Sports Events and Covid-19
Informed advice from the Deputy Chief Medical Office states cancelling sports events is not necessary for now. The government sees no rationale for cancelling events and sees sporting events as an aspect of life continuing as normal. This means they will not receive different treatment from transport, shopping centres or other mass gatherings. However it is worth noting that any change to government advice, or actions taken by the government, may be taken quickly.
Official Advice from DCMS
Following the initial briefing, DCMS released tailored advice for the sports sector (which is naturally subject to change at any time). The advice is as follows:
- • That there is presently no rationale to cancel sports events, but this is subject to change;
- • Anyone with flu-symptoms (staff, players, athletes or spectators) should avoid the risk of spreading their infection (whether it is Covid-19 or not) by staying at home to recover;
- • Stay up to date on the government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus
- • For those travelling to sporting events overseas, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (“FCO”) travel advice should be followed and apart from the countries and territories named in that advice, the government is not presently advising against travel to anywhere else;
- • Hand hygiene should be strongly promoted.
- • There is currently no reason people should stop doing their daily sport and physical activities as they normally would.