YOUTH sport at grassroots level will not be permitted outside of schools, as part of the four-week Covid-19 lockdown in England.

Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport tweeted that children’s grassroots sport “will be permitted in school settings [but] unfortunately we need to pause grassroots sport outside school to reduce the transmission risk from households mixing.”

The government has also dealt a blow to golf and tennis, which had hoped to continue outdoors between two individuals from different households, as part of permitted exercise.

Speaking in the House of Commons about the closure of gyms, golf clubs and tennis courts, prime minister Boris Johnson said on Monday: "Once you unpick at one thing, alas, the effectiveness of the whole package is compromised."

Both England Golf and the Lawn Tennis Association are hoping for a change of heart, however.

The LTA tweeted: “The government have today indicated that they won’t be allowing outdoor tennis courts to open in England during the period of the new national restrictions that come into force from Thursday.

“This is hugely disappointing for all those who love tennis up and down the country.

“We will continue to put our case to them ahead of the formal legislation detailing the restrictions during lockdown, which is yet to be published and is due to be voted on in Parliament on Wednesday.

“We will then provide an update on the definitive position.”

Golf and tennis will take encouragement from Johnson's colleague Michael Gove, however.

Talking in a Facebook Live Q&A, Gove said: "We are looking at allowing people to play on golf courses with one other, appropriately distanced.

"The same applies to tennis - I hope it will be the case that we will be able to refine, and further details will be published tomorrow that you can play one other person..."

Another sport to press pause for the next four weeks is indoor bowls, announced yesterday.