Northern Ireland Sports Forum Statement- 19th November 2020
The sporting sector fully appreciates the challenging times we are now facing and we understand the need for action in the fight against Covid-19. The role that sports organisations have played within their local communities since March cannot be understated and our governing bodies and their clubs have shown remarkable leadership during this pandemic.
Since further restrictions were placed in mid-October many of our members and their clubs have acted in such a responsible manner to ensure the health and wellbeing of their local communities. The Northern Ireland Sports Forum has deep concerns that enforcing the cessation of sport and physical activity below elite level will have devastating consequences for the health and wellbeing of the general public and sports organisations. Further financial hardship will undoubtedly be felt on grassroots sports organisations whilst spectator sports will be faced with further severe challenges they have been working so hard to overcome.
With continued inactivity of sport, many of our members are growing anxious that the continued loss of habitual involvement in sport and physical activity will lead to long term challenges for individuals and local communities. Sports club members are passionate about their involvement in sport and physical activity and sustained inactivity is having a detrimental impact on their physical and mental health. The banning of activity at levels below elite will only enhance the impact on the public at present, but will have long lasting impacts on our health sector.
In recent months social distancing measures were strictly applied by sports organisations and members are confident they could continue activity in these heavily controlled environments. Prior to the most recent lockdown a significant number of our largest member sports stated they were unaware of any cases of the virus being transmitted between participants in their sporting environment. We also note the recent comments by the chief scientific adviser for England Sir Patrick Vallance on 4th November which supported this view that there was no evidence of transmission of the virus in relation to grassroots participation in sport.