COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. A range of clinical scenarios exist, from an asymptomatic disease course to SARS and death. This document describes important considerations for 5 North American professional sports leagues (Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association, National Football League and National Hockey league) assessing when and how to resume phased operations, including practices and games. Sports should prioritise and promote the health and safety of athletes, team and operational staff, and other participants, and should not unduly increase those individuals’ relative health risk while contributing to economic recovery, providing entertainment for the public and leading a responsible restoration of civic life. Because elite professional sport ordinarily is conducted in a controlled environment, professional sports leagues may be able to achieve these goals. This document is focused on professional sports leagues in North America, and although many of the statements are generalisable to professional sporting settings throughout the world, other considerations may apply to sports in other countries.