The British government is to relax its quarantine rules for football clubs in European competitions and Formula One teams – giving the green light for Formula One’s British Grand Prix double-header and allowing the Champions League to return.
People arriving into the United Kingdom are currently subject to a 14-day quarantine due to the coronavirus crisis, with such rules introduced on May 22.
Only the United States’ death toll is higher than the UK’s worldwide, with nearly 40,000 lives having been lost to COVID-19.
The government’s protocols, however, are set to be abandoned for elite sports – provided certain criteria are met.
That’s according to The Times, who say F1 will announce on Monday its plans to hold two grands prix at Silverstone having been given the thumbs up from Whitehall.
A detailed plan surrounding the movements and activities of those involved in the sports must be provided.
And it is claimed the British government will provide official confirmation of the decision soon, with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden having said on Saturday: “The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.”
He added: “It’s up to each individual sport to decide exactly when to resume competition, they know their sports best.
“But football, tennis, horse racing, F1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are set to return to our screens shortly, with horse racing first out of the gate in the north-east next week.”
It means F1’s eight-race European schedule will be rubber-stamped, with the 2020 season starting with a double header in Austria on July 5 and July 12.
A week later, the F1 circus will move to Hungary before a British double-header on August 2 and August 9.
Spain, Belgium and Italy will also hold events, with all the races to be held behind closed doors.
Hockenheim had been on standby in case the British government ruled that F1 would not be exempt, making back-to-back Silverstone races an impossibility.
Such a decision would also have cast serious doubt on the season as a whole, given seven of the sport’s 10 teams are based within the UK.
But the beginning of the F1 season is now imminent, following the World Motor Sport Council’s vote to restrict F1 teams to 80 people each for races, with requirements for travel and accommodation to be carefully managed.
And for football it also means that Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers could play European matches on home soil.
City and Chelsea still have last-16 second-leg ties to play in the Champions League.
The reigning Premier League champions, City, lead Real Madrid 2-1 having played the La Liga heavyweights away from home.
While Frank Lampard’s Blues are on the brink of exiting the competition to Bayern Munich, having lost 3-0 at Stamford Bridge to the in-form Bavarians back in March.
It is expected UEFA’s club competitions will not return until August, after the domestic leagues in England, Germany, Spain and Italy are complete. France have meanwhile abandoned the remainder of the Ligue 1 campaign.
A revised fixture list is believed to have been sent out to the clubs still remaining in the Champions League and Europa League.
In the Europa League, United are all but into the last eight after winning 5-0 away at Austrian side LASK while Wolves drew 1-1 with Olympiakos in Greece.
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are up against it after being beaten 3-1 by Bayer Leverkusen at Ibrox.
Previously, a plan was mooted for all Champions League quarter-final and semi-final ties to be played in Istanbul, where the final is due to be held.
The final rounds of the competition will likely be decided by single matches, moving away from the usual two-legged home-and-away method due to the circumstances.
It is expected fans will not be present at any of the remaining matches, regardless of where they are played.
Meanwhile, Getafe president Angel Torres recently told Spanish radio station Onda Cero that a decision will be made in mid-June.
The La Liga outfit are scheduled to face Inter Milan in the last 16 having not played either leg of the tie.
“It seems what they want to do is to play the quarterfinals and semifinals at the same venue,” Torres said.
“It seems they will take the decision on June 17.”