EA suspends competition until July
England Athletics, the national governing body for the sport, announced on 29 April that the suspension of all athletics competition will be further suspended until at least 30 June 2020, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement follows previous statements on 17 March and 24 March that suspended all 'face-to-face' athletics activity – training, coaching, meetings and competition – following the Government's lockdown measures to control the outbreak of COVID-19.
There is a subtle difference in the latest announcement. It refers specifically to the suspension of 'athletics competition' – meaning licensed events such as track and field meetings and road races – 'in recognition that event organisers, clubs, athletes, officials and coaches at all levels of the sport need clarity, advanced notice and time to plan'.
Among the reasons cited for the decision is the availability of officials and potential difficulties in securing the required level of first aid medical support, with providers such as the St. John’s Ambulance ceasing to support major events until at least the end of June.
Any possible restart of competition will be contingent on government guidance and advice on issues including insurance, health & safety and medical service provision. The latest statement indicated that a review would be conducted into the wider suspension of athletics activities (currently until 31 May 2020) subject to any announcements from UK government.
England Athletics CEO Chris Jones said: “This is a collective UK wide decision and whilst we would all love to see the return of athletics competition as soon as possible, the safety of our members and the general public is of utmost importance”.
Jones added: “We understand the challenges that athletes, coaches, officials, event organisers and clubs are facing at this time and it was important that we reviewed our suspension of competitions activity and provided an update as soon as possible”.
The full statement is available at England Athletics here with links to free virtual running platforms and EA Athletics & Running for Everyone @ Home campaign here
Image courtesy England Athletics