Coronavirus: No sport in Northern Ireland for one week in new lockdown measures

There will be no sporting activity in Northern Ireland between 26 December and 1 January under new Covid-19 restrictions.

The move is part of a six-week lockdown in Northern Ireland, which was announced by the Stormont executive on Thursday night.

‘Elite’ sport can resume behind closed doors from 2 January.

Irish Premiership games on Boxing Day and 29 December are affected by the new measures.

Boxing Day is the biggest date in the Irish Premiership calendar with a number of derby encounters, including the meeting of Glentoran and Linfield.

There is also a full programme of six Premiership fixtures on 29 December.

The initial lockdown in March also saw a total ban on sporting activity for a number months while other measures have included allowing only ‘elite’ sport to take place.

The NI Sports Forum said it recognises that the Executive had to make difficult decisions in response to the pandemic.

"Like others, the sporting sector has been greatly affected by the ongoing stop-start nature of activity and the uncertainty surrounding activity has been difficult for governing bodies to operate within," it added.

“As sport has been highly regulated throughout the pandemic and the importance of engagement and spectating in sport has been showcased to be vitally important for the health and wellbeing of society at present, we understand that many may be disappointed to not be able to engage in their chosen activities over the next six weeks.

“The Northern Ireland Sports Forum would urge members to ensure continued full compliance with the regulations from their clubs which will put us on a platform to a return to full activity in the weeks and months ahead.”

Original article 17.12.20 on the BBC Sport website.

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