The UK government has released guidance for how elite athletes and sportspeople should return to training, ahead of resuming competitive sport.

The guide has been put together by a collaboration between the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), Public Health England, UK Sport and the Department for Health and Social Care. The authors say the guide is not legal advice, and athletes should seek advice from independent medical practitioners.

Step one of the guidance advises “a return to a level of organised individual programme training in a defined performance facility while adhering to the government social distancing advice.” Travel to training venues will be permitted.

Step two will be characterised by “the allowance of a level of ‘social clustering’ within the training environment where small groups of athletes and staff will be able to interact in much closer contact (e.g. close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, equipment sharing, etc).”

The guidance also says that each sport or club must name an existing member of staff as a Covid-19 officer, responsible for overseeing risk assessments and ensuring compliance with social distancing rules.

Each sport also requires a Covid medical officer or physician familiar with the emerging evidence related to post-Covid pathology. This person is expected to ensure any suspected or confirmed Covid case are managed properly, and oversee the safe return of athletes who have contracted Covid-19.

The guidance can be read in full here.

Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport said: “This guidance has been developed with input from athletes and experts including CEOs, Chief Medical Officers, Performance and Operations Directors representing Olympic, Paralympic and professional sport.

“It is important to note that the publication of this guidance does not mean that all Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes should return to training straight away and indeed, we fully expect different sports will return to training at different times. Each sport will need to make a risk assessment against the guidance and determine what is best for both their athletes and staff.”