‘Stage 5’ Elite Sport - Return to competition - Safe return of spectators guidance  

The next stage of the government’s 5 stage framework has been published, and covers Stage five - return to competition - safe return of spectators guidance.

The Government has announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August – with a view to reopen competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from October 2020.


The events have been carefully selected to represent a range of sports and indoor and outdoor spectator environments. They are expected to include two men’s county cricket friendly matches - such as Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval on 26-27 July - the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 31 July, and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival on 1 August. There are also likely to be further pilot events for other sports, in order to build up to and prepare for the full, socially distanced return of sporting events from October 1, 2020. 

The pilot events will provide the opportunity to stress-test the Government’s ‘Stage 5 guidance, on the return of fans to elite sports events.

The guidance has been developed with UK Sport and in close consultation with the Deputy Chief Medical Officers of England, Public Health England, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, Police and medical representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies.

Click here to access the Stage 5 guidance.


‘Stage 4’ Elite Sport - Return to cross border competition guidance 

The next stage of the government’s 5 stage framework has been published, and covers Stage four - returning to cross-border competition with no spectators. The guidance has been produced by a working group of leading sports Chief Medical Officers and partner organisation representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Click here to access the Stage 4 guidance.


UK Sport and BDO published

On behalf of UK Sport and Sport England, our assurance partner BDO has published articles from industry experts on;

1. Tailored support to help the sports sector bounce back after COVID-19

2. Rethink your finance and operations to prepare for the new normal 

3. Strengthening defences against fraud risk

4. Practical considerations to enable effective remote working

5. New VAT considerations arising from the COVID-19 outbreak

Guidance and support is still currently available through the following provisions:

  1. A dedicated ‘micro-site’ with up to date information on how to manage the impact of COVID-19 in the sports sector
  2. A dedicated helpline for UK Sport and Sport England funded partners to speak to specialists from BDO regarding individual business circumstances and needs as a result of COVID-19
  3. Bespoke work offers for managing the impact of COVID-19 in the sport sector for funded partners

The published articles and the micro-site can be found here.


Return to training & competition FAQs (updated 06/07/2020)

UK Sport understands that the current situation is having a large impact on the way the high-performance system operates and on the wellbeing of those within it. Following the release of the RTT Stage 1 Guidance and RTT Stage 2 Guidance (see below) we have provided the below FAQ to provide clarity and further explanation. 

We will be updating this FAQ on a regular basis to ensure the most current information is available to you. 

Updated FAQs available here.


UK Sport submission to DCMS Select Committee on impact of Covid-19

See below for a full written submission to the DCMS Select Committee, which builds on the oral evidence presented by UK Sport Chair Dame Katherine Grainger in her appearance before the Select Committee on Tuesday 5 May 2020. 

Full submission available here.


'Stage three' return to domestic competition guidance published

The next stage of the government's five stage framework for a a full return to competition has today been published.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed that the green light has been given for competitive sport to return behind closed doors from June 1, with social distancing to remain wherever possible.

Click here for the full 'stage three' guidance. 


Government release 'stage two' on return to training guidance 

The government published their 'stage two' guidance for elite athletes to resume competitive training. This guidance follows the first stage that was released on 13 May, which was prepared by a working group led by UK Sport CEO Sally Munday, which you can access below.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "We are absolutely clear that individual sports must review whether they have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place before they can proceed, and secure the confidence of athletes, coaches and support staff."

Click here for the full 'stage two' guidance.



UK Sport statement on Government return to training guidance 

The government has today published guidance which outlines what measures and mitigations need to be in place to allow athletes and support staff to safely return to training.

The guidance document, which was prepared by a working group led by UK Sport CEO Sally Munday, is designed to act as a framework for each sport to make a risk assessment against to determine whether they are able to ensure a safe environment for training.

Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport said: “This guidance has been developed with input from athletes and experts including CEOs, Chief Medical Officers, Performance and Operations Directors representing Olympic, Paralympic and professional sport.

“It is important to note that the publication of this guidance does not mean that all Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes should return to training straight away and indeed, we fully expect different sports will return to training at different times. Each sport will need to make a risk assessment against the guidance and determine what is best for both their athletes and staff."

Click here for the full story.


Olympic & Paralympic sports contribution to tackling COVID-19

What have the immediate impacts of Coronavirus been on Olympic and Paralympic sport?

The current coronavirus pandemic has brought the sports we know and love as a nation to a standstill. The Tokyo Games have been postponed to next year and athlete training and preparation has been halted.

Sports are facing pressing financial threats due to the loss of income from areas including:

  • sponsorship, membership and education programmes
  • cancellation and postponement of major events – including qualification events

There are some Olympic and Paralympic NGBs that face immediate and significant financial challenges to their solvency over the next three months and longer term should current conditions continue, more sports would be at risk.

UK Sport is working closely with the government and has been invited by the DCMS Select Committee to outline the impact of COVID-19 on Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United Kingdom, and will submit both verbal and detailed written evidence.

Watch here.

What steps has UK Sport taken to protect the high-performance system from the impact of Coronavirus?

UK Sport has followed government guidance throughout and continue to share this with sports to help inform their planning and preparations.

We have also worked closely with Sport England, the sports and other partners to develop detailed projections that set out the financial impact they are likely to face should the restrictions that are currently in place, due to COVID-19, continue for 3-6 months.

Sports have worked to make cost savings where possible, pausing non-essential work, redeploying or furloughing staff where possible and drawing on reserves.

In the meantime, we have communicated with sports that:

  • UK Sport will generally not seek to recover any financial investment in the World Class Programme due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • UK Sport are working with NGBs on a case by case basis to provide bespoke flexibility.

Athlete Funding Flexibility

  • Athletes currently in receipt of an Athlete Performance Award (APA) funding will continue to receive this until it is due to expire as per the current process (March 2021).
  • Where an athlete has previously been means tested out of funding and are now experiencing a significant reduction in their income, they can re-apply for an APA during the award period.

NGB Funding Flexibility

  • UK Sport will consider requests for flexibility within current grant awards to support a higher proportion of NGB central costs.
  • Requests to reduce co-funding contributions will be considered.
  • Sports have been advised to be prudent in reporting any surplus for the 20/21 financial year end, conscious that the rescheduling of the Games to 2021 may cause pressure in the future.

How has Olympic and Paralympic sport positively contributed to tackling the pandemic?

Athletes and sport across the country are helping to keep their communities active and connected and are promoting the government’s vital “stay at home” messaging.

As a high-performance system, we have deployed our resources – including our people and venues – where we can - to support vital services like the NHS.

Our science and medical arm, The English Institute of Sport, have a number of staff who are working with the NHS. There are also a number of national elite training centres and NGB sports facilities that have opened up to support the NHS, some examples of this work include:

  • British Sailing who have given their athlete accommodation for the NHS to use at their facility in Weymouth.
  • The Manchester Elite Training Centre who have given use of the City of Manchester Stadium for training NHS staff; use of the Etihad Campus as a Park and Ride site for the Sir William Coates temporary hospital; use of the Tennis Centre for showering and hot food provision for NHS staff working at the temporary hospital; as well as providing fleet vehicles and drivers to distribute food to the most vulnerable.
  • Elite Training Centres in Nottingham and Stoke Mandeville are continuing to support their local councils’ adult social care projects linked to COVID-19, with Stoke Mandeville supporting up to 240 vulnerable adults meaning they will free up hospital beds for critically ill patients in local hospitals.
  • The EIS Sheffield leisure centre has been particularly active in providing sports coaches for schools delivering activities over the Easter holidays and into the summer term for children of key workers, as well as for vulnerable children.

All of this work has been complemented by our athletes’ support for the Sport England #StayInWorkOut campaign, to encourage the nation to stay active. A number of our athletes, with a huge reach across social media, have provided content for DCMS to help inspire the nation to stay active throughout the social distancing phase of the COVID-19 response.

This has helped reinforce the message that sport has a crucial role to play in ensuring physical health, improving and supporting mental wellbeing and addressing social isolation.

How has UK Sport specifically managed the lockdown?

All UK Sport staff moved to remote working on 16 March and the office was officially closed a week later and all staff have been supported to work with the necessary IT and equipment to work from home safely. Since then we have conducted a thorough review of all our planned work for the coming 12 months and reprioritised several workstreams to enable us to make cost savings of £1.6million.

All organisational meetings have continued online and we have redeployed some staff to help us deliver against three key priority areas, Protect, Prepare and Play our Part:

  • UK Sport will protect the high-performance system – NGBs, athletes and other partner organisations - during this time to ensure it survives and continues to thrive.
  • We will work to address how best to help the system prepare for the resumption of activity – especially in terms of ensuring that our World-Class Programme athletes are supported to be fully competitive at the re-scheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer.
  • We will initiate activity to ensure the high performance sports system in the UK can play our part in helping society during the crisis to help the system – for example, through athletes inspiring people to stay active, or through mobilising expertise and resources to support key workers and health professionals.

Mental health support for athletes

This is a difficult time for everyone, and we’re absolutely committed to supporting our athlete’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

Over the past few years, we’ve invested heavily in our mental health support and our athletes have access to ongoing support from Performance Lifestyle Advisors, Psychologists, Doctors and other support staff and we encourage athletes to continue keeping in touch with these staff. In addition, the EIS Mental Health Expert Panel continues to be available to advise sports throughout this challenging time.

We have also put in place access to “Big White Wall”, a leading digital mental health service, which creates an anonymous, online peer support community. Big White Wall provides a safe space for all athletes and staff in the High Performance System to engage with a wider network of people, outside of their organisation who understand what it's like to struggle with mental health problems.

In addition, we have provided coaching support for members of staff in relation to managing significant change, and information about how to manage mental health. Since the lockdown, we have started a series of webinars aimed at bringing coaches together to discuss issues relating to health and wellbeing.


UK Sport and BDO 

UK Sport in partnership with Sport England has been working with our assurance partner BDO to understand how we can collectively add value, support and guidance to our funded partners and the wider sport sector during these unprecedented times.

Guidance and support will be made available through the following provisions:

  1. A dedicated 'micro-site' (online platform) with up-to-date information on how to manage the impact of COVID-19 in the sports sector. We have identified five major topics we feel meet this criteria:
    • Government Guidance
    • Tax
    • Operational Finance
    • Fraud/Control Environment
    • I.T

The access and information available on the microsite are free for all organisations in the sector. The micro-site can be accessed here.

  1. A dedicated helpline for UK Sport and Sport England funded partners to speak to specialists from BDO regarding individual business circumstances and needs as a result of COVID-19
  2. Bespoke work offers for managing the impact of COVID-19 in the sport sector for funded partners.

Given the unprecedented and challenging times that many organisations are currently facing across the sector, we hope this independent service will be of assistance to many of our partners and the sector

Funding Partners
  • DCMS
  • TNL partners
Official Partners
  • BAES logo
  • BUPA
  • IHG logo
Strategic Partners
  • British Olympic Association
  • Paralympics GB
  • Sport England
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Sport Wales
  • Sport Scotland