The sporting landscape has changed dramatically since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sport as we know it has come to a halt and is being replaced by a sanitised alternative in a bid to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.

With organised sport beginning to emerge from an enforced hibernation, there is plenty of speculation as to when the new sporting seasons will begin and what form they will take.


The 2020 Cornwall Cricket League season was due to begin in April, with the ninth round of matches set to have taken place this weekend.

Instead we are waiting for the go-ahead from the Government and ECB as to when recreational cricket can return.

One potentially significant development this week was the publication of the ECB’s five-step roadmap for the return of recreational cricket.

We are currently at step three, with the move to step four allowing a return to competitive cricket but with adapted play.

Shorter formats were specifically mentioned in the roadmap to allow for more matches to take place, which could see the normal 45- or 50-over league matches replaced by Twenty20 games.

But with cricket being a summer sport, any form of 2020 season would likely have to end by the end of September, so T20 games may be needed to fit in as many matches as possible, unless a half season of standard fixtures is considered.

A move to step four will come in line with government guidance, meaning a further easing of restrictions is necessary before this can take place.

At the moment it would seem that the middle of July is the most optimistic date for a return, which would just about allow a half season of standard games.

But with cricket being the most ideal team sport for social distancing, this gives them a decent shot at getting some form of truncated season in this summer.

The midweek cups – the Vinter Cup, Hawkey Cup, Division 2 T20 Cup, Andrew Cup and Rosevear Cup – are already played as T20 fixtures so play should be unaffected, but the schedule might have to be condensed into as little as a matter of weeks if all are to be played to completion.


Rugby is at the other end of the social distancing scale to cricket, which means the sport is likely to be in for a much longer wait for a return to full, unaltered match play.

The RFU’s own six-stage roadmap for the return of community rugby places a return to matches between players from different clubs at stage F, while we are currently only at stage B.

In addition, a minimum of four weeks will be spent at stage E, which allows for preparation for return to play and to matches.

Stages C and D would allow for a return to contact training when permitted to do so by the Government.

Two review groups are currently considering the implications for leagues and competitions, with the RFU anticipating being able to publish their recommendations later in June.

One bit of good news is that the league season would not normally return until September anyway, with pre-season beginning at the end of July, which may help to minimise the disruption on the league calendar.

Again, the RFU anticipates that adaptations or restrictions may still be in place when competitive matches return, although it does not state what they may be.


Football is in arguably the best position of the three major sports, given the sport lacks both the full contact of rugby and the race against the clock for cricket to get their season going.

But there are still several challenges.

Unlike cricket, which tends to attract fewer spectators, football and rugby have a more disproportionate reliance on numbers through the gate and in the clubhouse.

But with social distancing likely to be in place for some time, it means that attendances will likely have to be capped.

This may not be as much of a problem in the lower grassroots leagues but will be a bigger issue for the likes of Falmouth Town, who were regularly attracting crowds of well into the hundreds last season.

The other issue for football is its larger fixture schedule. While some rugby and cricket teams might play as few as 20 matches in all competitions in one season, football teams may play almost double that in league fixtures alone.

That makes the sport more vulnerable to a reduced or altered season where leagues and cup competitions may be truncated or even removed in the case of cups.

The FA is due to meet with leagues from steps fix and six of the English non-league pyramid next Friday, June 19 to discuss potential scenarios for the 2020/21 season.