England Netball CEO Fran Connolly urges government to reconsider leisure centre openings
"We fear that community sport is being left behind and many leisure centres are in real danger of closing their doors for good, which will in turn put us and other sports under further financial pressure"
Last Updated: 25/06/20 11:10am
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, says she's "disheartened" by the news that leisure centres will not re-open on July 4 and has asked the Prime Minister to revisit the decision.
The CEO released a statement on Tuesday sharing England Netball's perspective on the fact that these facilities would not be re-opening on July 4.
"Leisure centres are fundamental in the running of community netball and many other sports, they are vital for improving activity levels and the health and mental wellbeing of the nation," Connolly said in the statement.
"We are extremely worried that the longer leisure centres stay closed, the more likely it is that some of them won't survive financially."
As a sport that provides safe and, where needed, enclosed spaces for women to get active and enjoy netball, we know from experience that many will not feel comfortable exercising in public outdoor gyms or spaces. Many women who rely on leisure facilities to stay active through netball activity in safe and enclosed environments will suffer because of this decision.
Connolly also shared that England Netball have been working 'extensively' with partners across the sector to prepare detailed plans for the return of some forms of indoor sport.
"Whilst we knew netball in its fullest form may not have been able to return, we were hopeful for some form of netball activity to commence indoors.
"Extensive work has gone into ensuring comprehensive guidelines are ready for leisure operators and sports which will take place within these facilities, so it's disappointing that we cannot yet implement these measures and get people active indoors again.
"We fear that community sport is being left behind and many leisure centres are in real danger of closing their doors for good, which will in turn put us and other sports under further financial pressure.
GYMS— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) June 23, 2020
Many people keen to hit the gym & keeping Britain fit is key in Covid battle
We’ve made lots of progress & I know steps businesses have taken to make their spaces & equipment safe
Subject to public health, our aspiration is to reopen gyms & leisure facilities in mid-July
"Whilst we wait to hear more, we urge the Government to re-consider their positioning on this nationally," Connolly added.
"To provide a clear timeline for the eventual re-opening of leisure centres and grassroots sport more broadly, and to clearly communicate the rationale behind today's decision so we can seek as a sector to find solutions.
"These facilities are fundamental to the health of the nation and we risk activity levels hitting an all-time low in the future without them. We are hopeful that more details will be issued on the opening of leisure centres soon!"