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'Trickier' for contact sports to return immediately after lockdown - Sport Ireland chief Treacy

Non-contact, outdoor sports will be the ‘priority’ once the government eases restrictions.

SPORT IRELAND CHIEF Executive John Treacy says the return of non-contact, outdoor sports will be a priority when the government relaxes social restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

john-treacy File photo of Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Speaking alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris at a press conference earlier today, Treacy admitted it will be “trickier” for contact sports such as to return immediately after the easing of restrictions. 

“We all want to be back in action as soon as we possibly can”, said Treacy. “But we’re absolutely going to take advice from government in terms of when restrictions are going to be lifted.

“Sport is planning for that day and we’ve provided some material into our own department, that some sports that are non-contact, that are done outdoors with a lot of social distancing and physical distancing – they will obviously be a priority.

“But it’s up to the government to give the green light. We provide the information to the government and the decisions will be made by them. I think it would be a lot trickier for some of the contact sports, we’ll just have to monitor that very carefully, and obviously whatever guidance we take from government, we will take, but sport is planning for the day where things can resume.” 

The government confirmed earlier this week that licensed events of 5,000 or more people would not take place until at least 1 September, putting major sporting events such as the GAA championships and the conclusion of the domestic soccer and rugby seasons in doubt. 

Some sporting bodies in Ireland are considering the possibility of staging games behind closed doors as an alternative option: the Football Association of Ireland are working with clubs to work out the financial implications of staging games in empty stadia, while Leinster Rugby coach Leo Cullen this week said games behind closed doors would be “better than nothing.”

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Treacy also spoke of the benefits of remaining physically active during the Covid-19 shutdown. 

“If you are involved in physical activity, you will feel better and that’s why we need to highlight the importance of sport to lighten the load for people across the country.”

Additional reporting by Christina Finn

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Gavin Cooney

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