Elite sport in England exempt from fresh lockdown

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A soccer ball is disinfected
A soccer ball is disinfected
ADAM DAVY / POOL / AFP

Elite sport will continue to be allowed behind closed doors despite a new month-long lockdown being imposed across England by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday.

The strict series of measures reintroduced to try and curb rising coronavirus infection rates will begin from Thursday, November 5 and last until December 2.

Pubs and restaurants will shut unless serving takeaway food, while all leisure and entertainment venues and non-essential shops will close.

However, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed that elite sport will continue to enjoy an exemption to play behind closed doors.

"Travel to a place of work will be permitted," he tweeted. "This includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors."

The 2019/20 Premier League season was suspended for three months between March and June during the first UK lockdown to bring the virus under control.

Rugby, tennis and horse racing are among the other sports that will benefit from high-profile events being allowed to continue behind closed doors.

The ATP Tour finals are due to be played in London's O2 from November 15-22.

Ruby's Autumn Nations Cup will see the countries that normally compete in the Six Nations joined by Georgia and Fiji for a four-week tournament from November 13 that will replace the normal November internationals.

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