As soon as the deconfinement was announced from May 11, all sports authorities worked on the modalities, which will be finalized during a series of meetings this Thursday, May 7 between the sports ministry and the various players.
→ LIVE – Coronavirus: the latest information in France and around the world
The Tennis Federation had drawn the first, issuing Monday, May 4 rules for its licensees. The practice, limited to training and singles matches, will be authorized subject to precautions to avoid the spread of the coronavirus: the players must arrive on the courts in uniform and take a shower at home; the number of balls will be limited to six, marked with a number allowing each to collect only his own.
Swimming pools reserved for champions
Tennis is by nature a fairly simple sport to circumvent, as are most individual disciplines, such as cycling or running: practitioners of these disciplines will therefore find great freedom from May 11 in public spaces authorized in depending on the two zones, red or green. They will have to stick to common sense rules that are easy to apply: no peloton races, respect for safety distances. In case of activity with several (not more than ten), they are invited to respect a distance of 10 m.
All these precepts agree with the recommendations of the Academy of Medicine which was expressed Tuesday, May 5 by press release. But the matter is less easy for swimming, whose practitioners, champions or occasional swimmers, have been deprived of water for nearly two months. For the former, an agreement would have been found between the Federation, the Ministry of Sports and certain municipalities which have delegated the operation of a swimming pool to clubs, as is the case in Nice, Montpellier or Marseille.
We are therefore moving towards an opening in these cities of a few pools for high-level athletes, as well as federal pools of Insep (National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance) and Font-Romeu (Pyrénées-Orientales), which will gradually reopen. But the vast majority of public swimming pools will have to remain closed to the public until further notice, with local exceptions. “Nothing has been decided but we expect the closure to the public to last at least until July 15”, slips a frame of the Federation.
No more than ten people per sport group
All combat sports, where melee could facilitate contagion, remain prohibited. With the exception of the “softest” of them, judo which may be authorized in a club under strict sanitary conditions for high level judokas. General public practice could be authorized from mid-June, in small groups.
This notion of a small group is quite precise, limited in sport as in other social fields to ten people. « The practice of sport in a club can be done by accommodating 10 people outdoors. All associations, including those of team sports, will be able to offer activities, while respecting the distance “, said Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu in a press release Wednesday, May 6.
In other words, team sports remain prohibited in their usual expression. Amateur clubs will not have the right to organize training matches, but they will be able to organize outdoor sessions (passes, shots, races) to respect the 10-meter security. All under sanitary conditions applicable to other sectors, such as the provision of gel. This means that matches between friends in public spaces (parks, forests) remain prohibited, even if the measure is difficult to enforce on a large scale.
As few masks as possible
There remains the question of masks, particularly sensitive in sports where breathing plays an essential role. The Academy of Medicine recommends wearing it for “moderate” efforts, such as hiking, golfing or archery. Pulmonologists advise against it for high intensity practice. “The ventilation can go from 5 liters at rest, to 50 liters per minute at full intensity, we can see that the obstacle is insurmountable”, says professor of pulmonology Bruno Crestani, vice-president of the Breath Foundation.
According to him, wearing a mask is not necessary for sports practiced alone, such as running. On the other hand, any collective practice, with barrier distances according to him almost impossible to respect, supposes a protection : “No mask for cycling or running, but if I played handball, of course I would put on a mask. “