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Taoiseach Michéal Martin confirms team sports can continue with no spectators present

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin at the post-cabinet press briefing at Government Buildings in Dublin.  Photo: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheal Martin at the post-cabinet press briefing at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheal Martin at the post-cabinet press briefing at Government Buildings in Dublin. Photo: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Míchéal Martin has confirmed that team sports can continue to be played in its current format but without any spectators at all present.

There was confusion after the announcement today that outdoor events would be limited to just 15 people, the 15-person limit also applying to what was called "outdoor training" and those involved in team sports, particularly GAA, rugby and soccer, wondered if this meant that matches were now off.

Crowds at outdoor sports have been limited to 200 people, including players, coaching staff, stadium personnel, medical staff and media, but in some cases, clubs had been admitting limited members of the public.

League of Ireland clubs Finn Harps, Sligo Rovers and Galway United had granted access to 50 of their season ticket holders for recent games, but that option is now closed off.

Asked if sport can continue as normal, with matches and training, but with no spectators at all admitted, the Taoiseach confirmed that was the case.

"The public health advice on this has been strong, there are issues over congregation of people, what happens before and after the match there have unfortunately been some linkages in respect of some sporting clubs and so on where there has been an outbreak but Nephet advice to government was very strong and the government took that on board," the Taoiseach said today.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said sport should continue but without any fans present.

"Nphet is very clear that sport and physical activity has a role in our society, particularly with what we are going through at the moment," Dr Glynn said.

"We have not had significant issues arising out of sport per se. We are not aimed at stopping sport. As long as sport continues all of the protective measures that are already in place what they should do in terms of togging out, physical distancing.

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"We're saying that sport can continue, it's what has been happening before and after matches, people congregating, travelling together.

"Team-mates can travel to and from and that's 30 people, but that's 30 people as opposed to 230 people or 200.

"It's natural to try to paint each of these things as black and white but there is no situation where you can be absolutely safe from this virus unless you stay in your house and meet nobody and we can't continue on like that.


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