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This is no ordinary time, and we're all facing huge challenges. We're committed to being as supportive as we can to the sport and physical activity sector, and doing all we can to help people stay active in this new normal.

We've opened three funds focusing on a safe return to play and narrowing the inequalities gap in sport and physical activity. Find out more and see if the funds can help you.

Return to Play Fund

We know this is a hugely challenging time for the sport and physical activity sector as the country deals with the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Our two immediate priorities over this period are:

  • Supporting the sector: action to ensure it comes through this period in as strong a position as possible
  • Keeping the nation moving: doing everything we can to encourage people to stay active, wherever possible, which we think is now more important than ever.

Click on the links further down this page to find out more about this, including our funding support and Join the Movement campaign.

Latest government guidance

Every part of England is now in one of three Covid-19 alert levels: Tier 1 (medium), Tier 2 (high) and Tier 3 (very high). Here’s a summary of what this means for sport and physical activity:

Tier 1 (medium)

National restrictions, introduced from 24 September, continue to apply.


Organised individual and team sports that have been through return to play protocols can continue, while adhering to the 'rule of six', which means playing in a group of no more than six people.

There are exemptions to this: under-18s, disabled people and, if for educational purposes, over-18s, can play in any number.

Other indoor activity, such as exercise classes, can continue in larger numbers based on the size of the venue, provided that people are in separate groups of up to six people, or larger groups if they’re from the same household or support bubble, which do not mix.

Gyms and leisure facilities can stay open, and the ‘rule of six’ applies to informal activity.


National governing body-approved organised team sport, exercise classes and outdoor licensed physical activity and sport participation events can happen in any number provided they're in line with Covid-secure guidance.

The ‘rule of six’ applies to informal sport.

Tier 2 (high)


Organised individual and team sport must be played by a single household or support bubble.

Exemptions laid out in Tier 1 on specific groups of people who can play in larger numbers continue to apply.

Exercise classes can also continue as per the rules under Tier 1, while informal sport can only be played indoors by a single household or support bubble.

Gyms and leisure facilities can stay open.


There's no change to the guidance for outdoor sport and physical activity – the Tier 1 rules still apply.

Tier 3 (very high)

Guidance under this tier is subject to change, depending on local and national government agreements.


Sport and physical activity can be played as per the guidance under Tier 2.

Gyms and leisure facilities may have to close depending on local approaches to business closures.


Sport and physical activity can be played as per the guidance under Tier 1.

Frequently asked questions

Return to play

We've compiled advice and guidance on how the sport and physical activity sector can prepare for, and successfully and safely return to play.

Our support includes the current government guidance, as well as advice for clubs, the professional workforce, volunteers and much more.

See the guidance

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A mum and daughter getting active together.

Join the Movement

Our Join the Movement campaign is all about inspiring people to keep active during this time, pulling together trusted resources to help people do just that.

It's encouraging people to share their own ideas on social media.

Join the Movement

Activity levels research

We know how and if people are getting active during this time will of course change.

We're working with Savanta ComRes to understand the true picture throughout this period, and how people view getting and keeping active.

Read the latest findings

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Funding, flexibility and innovation

A £220.5 million package of government and National Lottery funding has been developed to help the sector through this crisis, including a now open Return to Play Fund.

We've also introduced flexibility in managing our existing support to individuals and organisations, and put a call out to innovators for solutions to inequalities in activity levels worsened by coronavirus.

Find out more

What happens next?

We've worked with the government to help explain its guidance as lockdown restrictions ease, and what it means for the sector both now and looking ahead.

You can also watch the latest webinar from our chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, about the crisis and what it means for our upcoming new strategy.

Learn more about what's next

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