CLUBS across Oxfordshire are back to square one after the announcement of a third national lockdown.

While elite sport is allowed to continue despite the tougher restrictions, many grassroots teams have been forced to suspend all activity.

Oxford United and Oxford City, in Sky Bet League One and Vanarama National League South respectively, can carry on behind closed doors.

But football clubs from step three of the National League System and below cannot play or train during lockdown.

The six Oxfordshire sides in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central and Division 1 Central – at levels three and four respectively – were already waiting until at least January 16 to resume fixtures.

But the new lockdown means they must wait even longer to return to action, having already not played since October.

It is a similar story for Oxford United Women, whose FA Women's National League Southern Premier Division title charge is on hold.

The U's are second in the third tier of the women's pyramid, the highest level affected by the suspension, and have not played since December 13.

All indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football is also suspended, including at Under 18 level.

Elsewhere, Oxfordshire's rugby clubs are back at stage A on the return to community rugby roadmap.

This follows the current government guidance, which allows socially-distanced exercise with one person from another household, but players cannot share equipment.

National League 1, which includes Chinnor, is the third tier of the rugby pyramid and the highest level of community rugby.

The 2020/21 season had already been cancelled for the community game, but the Thame-based club and Henley Hawks were hoping to play in the NCA Cup early this year.

The competition, one of many organised by the RFU to give players meaningful matches, placed National League 1 and 2 clubs in local pools, with knock-out competitions and a potential final at Twickenham down the line.

The NCA rugby executive board will provide an update on the competition after it meets next Thursday.

Oxfordshire Cricket had already furloughed coaches for the whole of January before yesterday's announcement.

Its schools programme, which was under review, was the only area not completely on hold.

Prior to the lockdown announcement, OCB chairman Chris Clements said: "The financial impact of not being able to run our winter programmes is considerable and we have decided that we need to take decisive action now to avoid eroding the financial position we have established.

"With that in mind all salaried staff will be placed on a one-day working week in January to cancel and re-plan for a quick recovery, our coaches will also be furloughed during this period.’’

England Hockey has also suspended all grassroots and club hockey for the foreseeable future, while indoor gyms and sports facilities remain closed.

Also forced to shut are outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery, driving and shooting ranges and riding arenas.

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.