Covid-19 advice and information - keep us informed about local cases in football
An update on ‘non-elite’ football
The FA has provided an update on ‘non-elite’ football in advance of Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap.
On Monday 19 July, England will move to step 4 of its roadmap in easing Covid restrictions. This means that almost all legal restrictions of social contact will be removed. However, the Government is encouraging people to act with caution. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect this.
This updated guidance which covers Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS), Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid and grassroots football (including Regional NLS Feeder Leagues), comes into effect on Monday 19 July and until then all participants should follow The FA’s guidance for Step 3 which can be found here. You can read the Government guidance here.
The full guidance document can be downloaded below and should be referred to for further details. The summary key points are:
- On field adaptions for playing football are no longer required
- No limits of how many people can meet
- 1m plus rule removed
- The definition of close contact remains the same, however the rules on self-isolation will be changing from the 16th August.
- Face coverings no longer required by law, but recommended in crowded indoor settings and may be mandated by some clubs or facility providers.
- Changing rooms can be used, however participants should use their own judgement and minimise use where possible to avoid close contact in a crowded area for a prolonged time.
- No capacity limits for spectators but good practice is encouraged
- Hospitality is permitted without restrictions.
- NHS Test and Trace QR codes not required by law but encouraged.
- Free NHS lateral flow testing is available to clubs and The FA encourage clubs to take this up.
- No domestic travel restrictions. Participants should continue to follow Government advice on international travel for any fixtures/ tournaments.
This guidance document applies to all youth and adult football and futsal, including all formats of the game, both indoors and outdoors.
We would like to thank you once again for playing your part in helping to get our game going again. By observing Government guidance and the football-specific protocols, we can look forward to ensuring the transition back to enjoying football is as smooth and safe as possible.
An update on grassroots football
The FA has provided an update on grassroots football in advance of step two of the Government’s roadmap.
The Government has confirmed that on Monday 12 April we will enter step two of the roadmap. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect the changes to national restrictions. The key changes to note are in relation to spectators, use of changing rooms and outdoor hospitality.
Please note that this updated guidance comes into effect on Monday 12 April and until then all participants should follow The FA’s guidance for step one which can be found here apart from the updated position on spectators (below) which the Government confirmed yesterday and is effective immediately. You can read the Government guidance here.
As organised sport can resume, all participants may travel to games but should avoid travel at the busiest times and routes, as well as minimising any unnecessary journeys where possible. All participants must follow the Government’s guidance on safer travel. Participants should note that this guidance will be updated as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap. All participants should therefore regularly review this guidance to make sure they are following up to date information.
Changing rooms can be used as part of step two of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. However, participants should minimise their use of changing facilities where possible. Toilets will be allowed to open, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training and/or matches.
On 7 April the Government updated its guidance in relation to spectators, which can be found here. This confirms that at step two and step one b, spectators are not permitted to attend sporting events taking place on private land, other than adults needed to supervise under-18s that they have a responsibility for or providing care or assistance to a person with disabilities. They should maintain social distance and not mix with other households. This does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space, e.g. a park, at step one b or step two, in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households. However, sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed football matches), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (e.g. matches that would attract a large crowd) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until step three.
Where clubs and facilities can accommodate this safely, parents and carers are permitted to be present at football activities, although they must observe the relevant Government Covid-19 guidance, including those on gathering limits for spectators.
As part of step two of the Government’s roadmap, indoor football for under 18s can take place in line with Department for Education and Out of School Setting guidance. All participants should read and follow this guidance for all indoor football activities.
Disabled people can take part in organised outdoor and indoor football without being subject to social contact limits.
Indoor football for adults is not currently allowed. This is planned to return no earlier than Monday 17 May for adults, as part of step three of the Government’s roadmap.
As part of step two of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, outdoor hospitality at grassroots football is permitted. All participants must follow government guidance on hospitality settings and the specific advice for sport facility operators available on the government’s website. People using clubhouses and hospitality facilities must adhere to legal gathering limits and wider government guidance. Please note that while outdoor hospitality is permitted, spectators are not allowed at games unless on public land.
This guidance applies to all youth and adult football and futsal, including all formats of the game. If there are any further updates from the Government, we will communicate these in due course and we will continue to update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA. Any incidents of non-compliance should be reported to the local County Football Association.
UPDATED 9 April 2021
The FA has provided an update on the return of outdoor grassroots football and support available to clubs across the grassroots football community.
On Monday 29 March, as part of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, outdoor sports facilities can open, and organised outdoor football can take place.
We have now published our updated guidance, based on the latest Government advice available, which applies to all outdoor youth and adult football and futsal, including all formats of the game. If there are any further updates from the Government, we will communicate these in due course. We will also update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
The Government guidance on travel is that the ‘stay at home’ rule will end on Monday 29 March, but many restrictions will remain in place. As organised sport can resume, all participants may travel to games but should avoid travel at the busiest times and routes, as well as minimising any unnecessary journeys where possible. All participants must follow the government’s guidance on safer travel .
Changing rooms cannot be used as part of step one in the roadmap out of lockdown and must remain shut. Toilets will be allowed to open, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training and/or matches. All government guidance on hygiene and social distancing measures must be followed.
No spectators are allowed at grassroots football as part of step one of the Government’s roadmap. One parent or guardian per child is permitted, where clubs and facilities can safely accommodate this and following all appropriate guidance.
Indoor sport is not currently allowed. This is planned to return no earlier than the 17th May, as part of step three of the Government’s roadmap, apart from disability football, which is currently allowed to take place indoors.
It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from the FA. Any incidents of non-compliance will be reported to the local County Football Association.
Click below to read and download the guidance:
UPDATED 29 MARCH 2021
Following the announcement of a nationwide lockdown (from Tuesday 5 January 2021) The FA has announced the suspension of non-elite football:
An update for ‘non-elite’ football in England following latest COVID-19 restrictions
We note the UK Government’s announcement this evening with regards to the new national COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown. As a result, the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of fixtures and training across the following, with immediate effect:
- Steps three to six of the National League System (NLS)
- Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid
- Regional NLS feeder leagues
- Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite status)
- FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs (unless under elite status)
- All indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football, including under 18s (except organised outdoor football for disabled people which is allowed to continue)
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup (which is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition)
It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and we implore everyone to follow these.
Dialogue will continue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, leagues, competitions and County FAs and we will provide further updates for the 2020/21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, Buildbase FA Vase and ‘non-elite’ football when relevant.
We would like to thank the football community once again for its hard work, resilience and understanding during such an incredibly challenging period for both the game and wider society.
Further questions? Read the FAQs from The FA here.
ISSUED 4 JANUARY 2021
Following the announcement that the North East will be in Tier 4 from 31 December 2020, please note that all adult grassroots football is suspended. Read the details here:
Please also note that travel BETWEEN different Tier 4 areas is not permitted. The North East is currently split into 3 separate Tier 4 areas:
- North East Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland) (will be moving to Tier 4 from Thursday 31 December)
- North of Tyne Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland) (will be moving to Tier 4 from Thursday 31 December)
- Tees Valley Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees) (will be moving to Tier 4 from Thursday 31 December)
Travel into and out of tier 4 areas is not permitted, this applies in youth and disability football. Each bullet point listed above is defined as a tier area. You must not travel from one tier 4 area into another tier 4 area.
Therefore, for example, a team or participant would not be able to travel from Gateshead to play or train in Newcastle upon Tyne and vice versa. Read the full details here:
ISSUED 30 DECEMBER 2020
Following the end of the national lockdown on December 2, football activity can resume.
Read the new guidance from The FA and the Government here:
And download the FAQs here: Return to Football FAQs
ISSUED 1 DECEMBER 2020
Clarification on travel in and between Tier 3 areas here:
ISSUED 3 DECEMBER 2020
Signage that clubs can download and use in their own facilities are available here:
Update on a limited return of home spectators for non-elite football clubs in Tier 3
QR codes have been introduced by the Government and you must download one for your venue.
Find out how the regulations apply to football with our FAQs here.
POSTED 23 SEPTEMBER 2020