‘We now go to… Robbie Savage?’ Coronavirus briefing takes unexpected turn

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May 22, 2020
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    Robbie Savage asks Matt Hancock about the return of grassroots football

    If you’ve heard the phrase ‘these are unprecedented times’ once in the past few months, you’ve heard it a thousand times.

    The world as we knew it is no more, and who knows when it will ever return to normal?

    Football fans have seen their sporting world put up on bricks. And Thursday night saw another strange moment, at Downing Street this time.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock was busy addressing the nation in the regular Government news conference when he caught everyone off guard by announcing: “We now go to….Robbie Savage?”

    Even he seemed surprised.

    But this wasn’t an impromptu episode of 606. Savage didn’t grill the MP for West Suffolk on whether Manchester United could win the title next year if they sign Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Kalidou Koulibaly and the government comes up with a vaccine.

    No, the former Wales midfielder – joining the briefing in his role as a Daily Mirror columnist – had a serious political question.

    He asked: “Why can junior tennis players, athletes and golfers receive coaching sessions but young people who play the working-class game of football are not allowed to?”

    Hancock was not thrown by his unexpected interviewer, though. He sympathised with the view but said that: “Unfortunately, these rules have to be in place.”

    Asked whether Hancock or the government’s scientific advisers could give an indication as to how grassroots football could be allowed to restart, the health secretary said: “Some of the projects we’re putting in place, like this testing and tracing that we’ve been talking about, are there to try to hold the number of new cases down while allowing more social distancing measures to be lifted and this is one that we can look at.”

    READ:  Monaco player suffers alleged racist abuse

    He added: “We want grassroots football back as soon as we safely can.”

    Next week: Chris Sutton gets more answers from Priti Patel.

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    May 22, 2020
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