YESTERDAY the government announced its 'roadmap' for easing Covid-19 restrictions, with sport on its way back as part of that.

School sports are to return on March 8, followed by the reopening of outdoor facilities and the return of organised team sports like football on March 29.

Indoor leisure venues can reopen on April 12, then crowds will be able to return to sporting fixtures (with limits) on May 17, ahead of a removal of the remaining limits on June 21 - providing that all Covid-19 conditions are met.

READ MORE: What government 'roadmap' means for sport in Somerset

So what has the reaction been from different sports and their governing bodies?

Grassroots football season extended

The Football Association (FA) released the following statement yesterday evening: "We welcome the UK government’s update today regarding the Covid-19 roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, which means we can look forward to the safe return of grassroots football from March 29, for both adults and children. 

"With this new clarity around timings, we will continue to work with government on plans for a safe return for grassroots football across England, and will communicate updated guidance as soon as we can. 

"We can also confirm that the 2020-21 grassroots season has been extended until the end of June, in order to provide additional flexibility and time for leagues to complete their fixtures this season if they wish to do so. 

"Please note: the extension does not apply to the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6, Regional NLS Feeder Leagues and the Women’s Football Pyramid from Tier 3 and below, including County Leagues at Tier 7, as the process to determine the preferred route forward for these competitions is currently ongoing.

"We will provide a further update on this in due course."

Steps 3-6 of the National League System include the Southern and Western Leagues - meaning that the extension does not apply to Somerset teams Bishops Lydeard, Bridgwater Town, Frome Town, Shepton Mallet, Street, Taunton Town, Wellington and Wells City, who play in those leagues.

The Feeder Leagues (formerly Step 7 of the NLS) include the Somerset County League Premier Division (which features Chard Town, Ilminster Town, Middlezoy Rovers and Watchet Town) and the Devon & Exeter League Premier East (featuring Chard Town Reserves).

As for women's football, Yeovil United sit at Tier 3, Bishops Lydeard Ladies, Ilminster Town Ladies and Middlezoy Rovers Ladies at Tier 5, and the Somerset County Women's League (Division 1) at Tier 7.

'Very pleased to see spectators return'

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement: "The ECB welcomes the government's decision to permit grassroots cricket to return across England in time for the start of the 2021 season.

"We are also very pleased to see the return of spectators to grounds from mid-May.

"Our leading venues strongly believe they have the technology and know-how to return capacity crowds and we look forward to working in close partnership with the government to identify ways in which this can be achieved in a safe and controlled manner this season."

England Hockey commented: "England Hockey very much welcomes today's government announcement about the future lifting of restrictions on outdoor sports.

"We await further detail and anticipate making another statement within the next 72 hours."

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said: "The Rugby Football Union welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister that grassroots team sports including community rugby can return from March 29 and the start of fans returning to stadiums from May.

"This is good news for the game and for players, coaches and volunteers across the country, who will once again be able to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of being involved in team sport.

"We will work with DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport] on the Covid protocols for the community game, including the format of rugby that will be permitted in return to play.

"We also look forward to working with government and other sports on the safe return of fans to stadiums."

And the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) added: "We are pleased that there is now a clear date for when outdoor tennis will be allowed to resume in England.

"We know sport has a key role in supporting the physical and mental health of the nation, so it’s return will give a boost to the whole country, and is very welcome.

"Clearly tennis is a naturally socially-distanced and safe activity, and so we would have liked restrictions to be lifted without delay and made the case for this.

"However, we are now focused on supporting venues, coaches, officials and players to prepare for the return of outdoor tennis on March 29.

"It is also important that indoor facilities can reopen as soon as it is safe for them to do so.

"Many of the country’s network of indoor tennis facilities have suffered real financial challenges so it is vital that we protect these community assets to avoid them closing permanently, and we are keen to work with government on this.

"The initial plans for the return of spectators to sports stadia are also welcome, and we will continue to work closely with government ahead of the LTA’s summer grass court events."

The LTA has also published a summary grid of 'permitted tennis activity' from March 29 here.

'Extremely disappointed'

Not all of the reaction was positive, however.

An England Golf statement said: "England Golf is extremely disappointed that the scientific evidence presented to government detailing how the sport can be played in a Covid-secure manner has not resulted in a return to play date earlier than March 29.

"We will now examine the details of the government’s roadmap before making further comment and working with our community of clubs, counties and golfers to prepare for the game’s safe return."

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said: "This announcement from the government will come as a relief to so many people who have missed swimming and aquatic activity so much - the end is finally in sight.

"We appreciate that many will have been hoping for an earlier reopening date but we understand the need to be cautious, as we don’t want to end up in another lockdown in the future.

"While I’m delighted that outdoor and indoor pools can reopen at the earliest available opportunity allowed by the government, it’s still a bittersweet moment for our thousands and thousands of over-18 club members.

"Of course adults will be allowed to get back in the water when pools reopen but, for so many of them, it will mean they have been unable to train with their clubs for more than six months by the time the indoor restrictions on adult organised sport are eased.

"We have stressed over and over again to the government that it needed to change this frustrating ruling, so it’s extremely disappointing to see restrictions still in place for several more weeks when pools do reopen.

"Our over-18 members have been locked out of their club pool training sessions for far too long.

"Club-arranged land training in groups can resume outdoors from 29 March but we appreciate it’s not a substitute for being in the water.

"That’s why we shall be urging the government to reconsider this restriction and allow adult organised activity to take place in the second wave when indoor pools reopen."