The FA has received approval (10 December 2020) from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for a limited return of home spectators to be permitted at clubs competing in the National League System (NLS), Women’s Football Pyramid (WFP)and Buildbase FA Vase if they are situated in Tier 3 areas.
The FA has worked continuously alongside the DCMS, Sports Grounds Safety Authority and leagues to gain approval and clubs competing in Steps 3-6 of the NLS, Tiers 3-6 of the WFP and Buildbase FA Vase that are situated in Tier 3 areas are now permitted to accommodate home spectators up to 15% of their ground grading capacity in line with Stage 1 of the respective guidelines for the NLS or WFP.
A limited return of home spectators up to 15% of their ground grading capacity will also be permitted in the Buildbase FA Trophy if the fixture is between two ‘non-elite’ clubs (clubs at Steps 3-4 of the NLS) in a Tier 3 area. All fixtures in the Buildbase FA Trophy that involve an ‘elite club’ (clubs at Steps 1-2 of the NLS) in a Tier 3 area must remain behind closed doors in line with the UK Government’s return to ‘elite’ sport guidance.
Prior to admitting spectators, clubs competing in Steps 3-6 of the NLS, Tiers 3-6 of the WFP, the Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase that are situated in Tier 3 areas are strongly advised to liaise with their respective Local Authority for agreement on capacity limits.
It is extremely important that spectators remain in their household or social bubble in groups of six, do not mix with any other spectator groups, or travel between Tiers to attend fixtures, as enforceable by law. If breaches of spectator limits or social distancing are reported, clubs and leagues may face returning to fixtures being held behind closed doors.
Under UK Government guidelines, bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants in Tier 3 areas must be closed, except to sell by takeaway or click-and-collect, and this remains the case for clubs competing in Steps 3-6 of the NLS, Tiers 3-6 of the WFP, the Buildbase FA Vase and Buildbase FA Trophy with clubhouses in Tier 3 areas.
Clubs competing in Steps 3-6 of the NLS, Tiers 3-6 of the WFP, the Buildbase FA Vase and Buildbase FA Trophy that are situated in Tier 1 or 2 areas remain permitted to accommodate a phased and limited return of spectators if they continue to follow the UK Governments’ latest guidance on COVID-19 and our respective guidelines for the NLS or WFP.
Regional NLS Feeder Leagues, Tier 7 of the WFP and outdoor grassroots football also remain permitted to accommodate socially-distanced spectators but must follow the UK Government’s ‘rule of six’ and guidance on restrictions in certain tiers.
The FA’s respective guidelines for the NLS and WFP are summarised below:
National League System club-guidance-for-the-return-to-football---10-december
Womens Football Pyramid club guidance for thereturn to football 10 december