Play on! The fight for grassroot sport during lockdown continues

Team Sunderland are currently not allowed to play due to the ban on grassroots sport.


GRASSROOTS sport was brought to a screeching halt at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the latest government restrictions have resulted in yet another stoppage in play.

This second lockdown has been aimed at stopping the spread of the virus, amid hopes that schools do not increase their infection rate and children can get their education after missing out on an entire term last school year.

A petition was started by ex-Premier footballer Robbie Savage to keep grassroots sports going during lockdown – and received nearly 115,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for Russell Foster Girls League, on Wearside, said: “We are disappointed to hear that grassroots are affected for a second time after the time and effort and cost every single club have put in to keep us going.”

There has been some confusion and controversy about why schools can be open but grassroot sport has to stop, as both involve the mixing of many children.

A coach for Lumley Ladies FC said: “I think that if a child can do sports at school, then why can’t grassroots keep going the same, as long as everyone is obeying the rules?”

The league allows young people to meet new people, play a sport they love, exercise and most importantly have fun with friends.

Supporters of the local leagues say there can be many benefits to them continuing over winter, including allowing parents, grandparents, and carers to share their children’s joy and enjoy a new social network.

A coach for Bishop Auckland Girls FC said: “The benefits are allowing children to be out in the fresh air, doing a hobby they love with their football bubble and helping them with their mental health.”

A spokesperson for Russell Foster Girls League said: “Being part of grassroots sport has many benefits: it keeps us healthy, it builds self-confidence, it allows us to interact with people, everyone involved plays their part and all they ask is to keep us mentally and physically fit to let us continue.”

You can sign the petition at this link:

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