COVID-19 Coronavirus - 18th July 2020

The FA issues guidelines for the return of outdoor competitive grassroots football

Practical guidance for players, coaches, officials, volunteers, clubs, leagues, parents/carers and facility providers undertaking outdoor competitive grassroots football activity in England.

The FA can confirm that the UK Government approved its plan for the return of outdoor grassroots football late last night, Friday 17 July 2020. 

As a result, the grassroots football community now has the opportunity to return to football and prepare for the start of the new season. 

The FA has been working hard over recent weeks to prepare guidelines for the safe return of grassroots football and, following Government approval, these can now be published.

Football activity can take place with necessary modifications in place to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19.  

The FA would strongly recommend a phased return to competitive football activity as follows:

Until 31 July - When ready, you can begin competitive training, with the overall group size (inclusive of coaches) being limited to 30 people.

From August - Outdoor competitive football matches to begin, for example pre-season fixtures, festivals and small sided football competitions.

From September - Grassroots leagues, men’s National League System, Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6, and FA Competitions can commence.

Clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers, spectators and football facility providers should read The FA’s full guidelines, which are accessible below, in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19.

A return to competitive football should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completed the necessary risk assessments and comprehensive plans are in place.

A summary of key points to consider from The FA’s guidelines are listed for ease below:

· Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend. 

· Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19. 

· Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches. 

· Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play. 

· Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session. 

· Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play. 

· Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training. 

· Goal celebrations should be avoided. 

· Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training.

· Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities. 

· Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.

· Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace. 

· Clubs should ensure they are affiliated with their County Football Association

Separate guidance has been developed for clubs with teams competing in the men’s National League System (NLS) and the Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6. This will support these Clubs on the safe return of paying spectators and also the applicability of the guidance to facilities under Ground Grading conditions, to ensure the safe return of competitive matches.  

Please note that at this stage, indoor football and futsal is not permitted.

The FA will look to work with indoor facility providers to develop appropriate guidance for indoor formats as soon as possible. 

James Kendall, Director of Football Development at The FA, said: 

“We are delighted that the Government has given the go-ahead for competitive grassroots football to return. The past few months have been some of the most challenging times not just for football, but across society, and today’s news will be welcomed by the grassroots football community all over the country.

“Now that we are able to look ahead to the new season, it’s crucial that we continue to do all we can to follow safety measures, both as advised by the government and specifically for football. 

“I would encourage anyone returning to competitive grassroots football to take the time to read this guidance, prepare thoroughly and to adopt our recommended approach to phasing football back in. I would also like to thank you for playing your vital part in helping our great game to get going again.”


Previous Updates


COVID-19 Coronavirus - 1st June 2020

The FA has today issued further guidance to all grassroots football and informal football activity outside the professional game following The Government’s relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from 1 June 2020.

Consistent with Government advice, published on Monday 1 June, the following outdoor football activity is currently permitted:

  • playing football individually e.g. practice of individual skills or fitness activities;
  • playing football with your family or other people living in your household;
  • football training or fitness activities in groups of no more than six, keeping two metres apart at all times. Sharing of equipment should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. Physical contact with anyone outside of your household is not permitted, therefore, playing of any games (small-sided or full) is also not permitted at this time. Avoid meeting in groups of six in busy or overcrowded areas, if it is so busy that it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Football coaches can now undertake small group sessions up to six people (including the coach) but are reminded to follow The FA safeguarding policy when coaching/working with children. This must include risk assessing the activities, gaining consent from parents/carers and ensuring you are in sight of another adult e.g. parent/carer or another coach and that the ratio of coach to different age-groups of children is appropriate – see download 5.5 . For clarity, the additional parent/carer or coach is not included as part of the group of six but must remain in sight of the activity.
  • It is permissible for coaches to organise a training session that has two or more groups of six (including the coach) involved as long as the groups of six are kept separate, everyone is socially distancing, and strict hygiene measures are in place with any equipment.
  • Football coaches working with people with impairments must ensure they can adequately cater for any additional needs whilst still avoiding physical contact and maintaining social distancing. Individuals should follow Government guidance relevant to their own impairment or health condition.  

Please be reminded, if an individual is symptomatic, living in a household with a possible COVID-19 infection or if you are classified as extremely vulnerable on health grounds, the guidance is that you should remain at home.

The FA continues to work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and Sport England in order to provide good practice guidance for those responsible for delivering different aspects of grassroots football and we will share further information as soon as possible.

 

 

COVID-19 Coronavirus - 17th March 2020

The following update was released by the FA today.

"Following the Government’s announcement on the 16th March, for people to avoid social contact and gatherings where possible, we are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future.

We have also decided to postpone all matches across all FA competitions, including those outside of the professional game, until 3 April.

We are committed to trying to complete all competition fixtures and will be liaising with the relevant parties to establish appropriate options to do so.

Throughout this period, we have taken Government advice with the priority being the health and wellbeing of all. We will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time.

We are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review. Further updates will follow as needed."

In line with this advice Yarnton Blues Football club will cease training sessions to protect the well being of our players, parents, and volunteers, as well as the wider community they may come in contact with. We will resume training as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

Further information can be found on the FA's website http://www.thefa.com/about-football-association

We will post any significant updates to the situation on this page as they become available.


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