Policy & Publications

Statement – Return to Professional Sport Guidance

A statement from FSEM (UK) President Dr John Etherington CBE on the publication of guidance for the phased return of professional sport by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on 13 May 2020.

Like most people, we are keen to see the return of professional sport as soon as possible – not least because it is the source of many of our members’ livelihoods. However it is important to recognise that this will not be a quick or simple process, and the most important factor to consider is of course the safety and health of everyone involved, including athletes, coaches, physios, medics, support staff and spectators. We must also be careful to ensure that any return to sporting activity does not increase the pressure on the NHS at this critical time.

We are therefore pleased to see the guidance for a return to professional sport laid out today by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport. The plan has been produced by a working group including representatives from UK Sport, Public Health England and governing bodies from across the sporting world, including a number of FSEM Fellows. It describes a phased return and puts in place a series of steps that will allow us to manage this in a controlled and considered way.

We believe this is a sensible and practical plan that will allow us to bring back the sports we love while protecting the health of those involved, and we would strongly encourage all sporting governing bodies, and everyone working in sports medicine, to ensure that they follow this guidance in the coming weeks and months.

We are also deeply encouraged by the number of representatives from different sports involved in the formulation of this plan. At a time of unprecedented challenge, it is heartening to see so many different sporting bodies come together and work for the common good. We hope that this spirit of cooperation will persist in the sporting world long after the memory of the COVID 19 outbreak has faded.