New Zealand could restart professional sport in days: minister

WELLINGTON: New Zealand could approve the restart of professional sports as soon as next week, when authorities decide whether they should facilitate coronavirus Additional restrictions, the sports ministry said Thursday.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson He said that professional sports could resume in the country when the country lowers its COVID-19 alert level a little.

New Zealand will decide on Monday whether the country will go from 'Tier 3' to 'Tier 2'.

Moving to Alert Level 2 continues to expand opportunities for sport and recreation and reintroduces the opportunity for competitive sport, both locally and professionally, Robertson said in a statement.

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Obviously, the main concern is that the return to competitive sport is done safely.

The announcement will give New Zealand hope of becoming the first major rugby nation in the world to resume playing the sport at an elite level.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said it was excited and that it had plans for 10 rounds of national games for the country's five. Super rugby teams, which have been inactive since the season was suspended in March.

The five teams will play each other at home and away from home for 10 weeks, with two games every weekend. All matches will be played in closed stadiums, said NZR chief executive. Mark Robinson he said in a statement.

"Kiwi rugby fans love the local ... Super rugby derbies, and they will now have 10 consecutive rounds to enjoy."

The domestic matches have the backing of Super rugby governing body SANZAAR , which includes associated unions in Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

NZR's Robinson added that a decision will be made in the next two weeks as to whether New Zealand could conduct scheduled tests in July against Wales and Scotland.

Compared to the United States and countries in Europe, New Zealand has been relatively successful in containing COVID-19, registering fewer than 1,500 infections and 21 deaths.

Infection rates have plummeted in recent weeks after authorities installed one of the strictest locks in the world.

New Zealand lowered its COVID-19 alert status to Level 3 from Level 4 last week, allowing more freedom of movement and some 400,000 people to return to work.

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