Covid-19: Basketball England statement on Government update

The Government has issued new Covid-19 guidance for England which has a significant impact on Basketball England’s Return To Play plans. 

Following the announcement from the Prime Minister on 22 September, indoor Under-18s basketball and senior elite basketball remain exempt from the ‘rule of six’ social distancing restrictions. 

But from Thursday 24 September, senior indoor sport, other than at elite level, must only take place in groups of up to six people - with Sport England this afternoon confirming adults from different households taking part in non-elite indoor team basketball do not have to social distance within those groups.  

Basketball England has met with the Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, the Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, Sport England and numerous NGBs to work through the detail of what this means for indoor sport. 

What indoor basketball activity currently can take place? 

  • Elite competition and training  BBL, WBBL, NBL Division One, WNBL Division One, EABL, WEABL (RTP Level 2)Elite level is defined by government and detailed in Appendix 5 of the RTP document HERE 
  • Junior competition and training – Jnr. NBL and local league for U18s and younger (RTP Level 2) 
  • Non-elite senior training and competition in bubbles of up to six people (RTP Level 2 but with six-person limit)Additional information regarding how many bubbles of six can use a single court and how many coaches and other personnel can be involved will be confirmed as soon as possible. 

What indoor basketball activity currently cannot take place? 

  • Any non-elite senior competition and training in bubbles of more than six people – this applies to NBL Division Two and WNBL Division Two, NBL Division Three plus regional and local leagues 
  • Informal basketball in groups more than six people  

What does this mean for Basketball England competitions? 

  • Junior competition can take place at EABL, WEABL and Under-18s level and lower (RTP Level 2) 
  • Senior competition can take place at NBL Division One, WNBL Division One if practical and financially viable (RTP Level 2) 
  • Senior competition at NBL Division Two, NBL Division Three and WNBL Division Two cannot currently take place in its current format. Basketball England will examine the feasibility of 3x3 competition for non-elite seniors as an alternative to the 5v5 game. We will be assessing how this could work from safety, practical and financial perspectives. This will include getting views from Sport England and our members in the coming weeks.   
  • We are continuing to seek further clarity on the classification of competitions/leagues in line with the Governments 'Elite' guidance. We will provide further updates in due course.

In line with the Government guidance, spectators are not permitted at any basketball activity at any level of the game.  

We will be working with schools, Jr. NBA, AOC and BUCS to support them on considerations on Return To Play for the education sector. 


We appreciate this news will be challenging for many clubs and people in the game. If you need guidance or support, please email us at [email protected]. 

Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett said: 

“It is disappointing to see restrictions placed on the game after the patience, hard work and dedication from everyone in the sport.  

“Clubs have been resilient, flexible and respectful of the Government guidelines and our Return to Play guidance to work under such difficult conditions. 

“The Government recognises this latest move is a blow for indoor sport. We will continue to work with them and Sport England to find an approach that maintains the safety of our members and everyone in basketball, whilst getting everyone back on the court as soon as possible.  

“We will push for the further clarity in the guidance, ongoing support to help the game survive and, where possible, influence the Government to safely reduce the constraints on the non-elite senior game. 

“We will provide regular updates as further information emerges.”