Basketball is back! Organised outdoor sessions have the green light

Basketball is back! Monday March 29 is a landmark day in the return of the sport for all participants, as organised sessions for up to 30 people can take place on outdoor courts.  

In line with the Governments roadmap, Basketball England is hopeful of welcoming U18 players back indoors on the 12 April and senior players from the 17 May. 

Stewart Kellett, Basketball England CEO, said: 

“We have been waiting a very long time for the great news that players outside the elite level of the game can get back to basketball. It’s brilliant that we can now, in a staged and safe way, start to get back to normality. 

“We are hopeful that, if everybody follows the guidance in our Return To Play document, we can progress towards playing indoor basketball very soon and get back to fully enjoying the benefits and pleasure our great game brings and rebuilding our sport for a bright future.” 

While it is exciting basketball is returning, the guiding principles of the BE Return to Play guidance remain very important. They are: 

  • The health and safety of members takes precedence above everything else 
  • The guidance is to be applied alongside additional rules provided by venue operators 
  • The guidance aligns to Government rules and is flexible to allow for changes to be applied quickly 
  • The guidance is based on clubs, organisations and individuals taking responsibility and complying with the requirements  
  • All clubs and league providers must have a COVID-19 Officer in place to liaise with Basketball England  

What can happen from 29 March 


  • Continuation of training and competition for NBL/WNBL Division 1 teams under RTP level 2 conditions   
  • Continuation of training for EABL/WEABL teams under RTP level 2 conditions   

Youth (U18)   

  • RTP Level 2 – Outdoor only, organised basketball permitted max 30 per court, no spectators.  

Non-Elite senior   

  • RTP Level 2 – Outdoor only, organised basketball permitted max 30 per court, no spectators.  

Basketball within education   

  • Basketball training permitted as part of educational delivery under RTP level 2 conditions.   

Informal basketball - following Government restrictions 

  • People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the "rule of six". 

‘Organised basketball’ refers to activity carried out by BE-affiliated clubs following BE’s Government-approved RTP guidance. Informal basketball must follow general Government restrictions, which from 29 March means people are allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the "rule of six". 

Returning players to training and competition 

BE understands clubs, local leagues and area associations are eager to get back to activity as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The primary focus when returning to activity is for clubs and coaches to take a methodical approach to ensure that we do not see a spike in injury rates. We have produced a number of support guides and resources to help clubs plan effectively and encourage everyone to take a responsible approach that doesn’t further hinder the sports resurrection. 

It is suggested players follow our 6-week Game Ready reintroduction programme to reduce the risk of injury following the lockdown period.

Club support 

We want to hear from and work with the basketball community to find innovative ways to encourage as many people as possible to re-engage with the game. 

There are a number of existing and emerging opportunities for clubs to explore to help address and mitigate the above issue as detailed below: 

Facility access 

We continue to liaise with multiple partners and stakeholders and are aware the majority of school facilities have limited access and, in some cases, have been turned into testing centres. 

We have created a template letter clubs can use when having discussions with facility providers. In addition to this Sport England have opened up a £10m fund that will provide necessary resources to make venues ‘Covid Secure’ which will then provide a level of confidence and reassurance to senior leaders within facilities that external bookings can resume.  

In the short term, the sport will reopen from an outdoor perspective first. We encourage all clubs to work with their local authorities, active partnerships etc to secure sufficient outdoor space. 

Leagues and competitions 

Basketball England made the tough decision earlier in the year to cancel the 2020/21 National League season for all levels except for our NBL Division 1 men’s and women’s competitions which are deemed as elite by the Government 

Except for Talent programme activity and 3x3 activities, Basketball England will not be staging any official competitions/leagues or events for the remainder of the 2020/21 season. 

We understand local leagues, clubs and partner organisations may wish to deliver tournaments, mini-leagues or friendly games. To enable the safe undertaking of this type of activity, we have devised the below principles that MUST be adhered to: 

  • To follow the guidance laid out in our Return to Play roadmap, guidance documents and risk assessments. This includes full consideration for player screening, hygiene, and game day considerations (court configuration, travel etc) 
  • All summer activities that include competitions, leagues, tournaments, CVLs, festivals between May and September, organised via clubs, local leagues, associations, and organisations, must be sanctioned by Basketball England and the Summer Activity Sanction Request form must be completed.  Once approved your activity will be listed on the Basketball England website as a sanctioned activity. Fees may be applicable for support services required such as referee appointment/deployment, competition support etc. 
  • To allow for a safe return to the sport, competitive opportunities must not take place before 10 May at the earliest. This allows for our 6-week Game Ready reintroduction to be followed and will reduce the number of injuries that occur following the lockdown period. 
  • All clubs, leagues and partner organisations MUST be affiliated to Basketball England. 

3x3 opportunities

3x3 basketball offers clubs and leagues the opportunity to organise small-scale outdoor and indoor activity this summer. 

The iconic Ball Out UK 3x3 tour in partnership with Basketball England will take place in July and August in an expanded format in seven cities across the country.

To find out more about the opportunities 3x3 presents for players, clubs, organisations and regions, check out our 3x3 hub.