Let’s keep football Covid free – that’s the message from a new campaign aimed at keeping people playing the game safely.
Northumberland FA has joined forces with three local authorities to encourage everyone involved in football to follow the rules around Covid-19.
Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council and Newcastle City Council have all begun to open their pitches again after lockdown. But it’s vital that clubs, teams and individuals follow The FA guidance around playing football to ensure that the game can continue to be played safely.
Key points include:
- Kick off times – clubs should consider staggering these to ensure there aren’t too many people arriving at or leaving at the same time
- Safe spectators – consider how many parents or supporters can watch the match safely, and with consideration for social distancing. Do you need you need to limit numbers?
- No goal celebrations – to avoid unnecessary contact
- Good hygiene – individual water bottles and hand sanitisers for each player. No equipment sharing
- Hands off the ball – minimal handling of the ball – use boots instead. Disinfect the ball during breaks in play.
- Social distancing for players and coaches – stay 2m apart when not playing. Don’t travel to the match with others who aren’t in your ‘bubble’.
- Toilets and changing rooms – change and shower at home. Toilets at some facilities may be closed and any toilets in use must meet Government guidance on the use of indoor facilities.
- Track and Trace – clubs should keep a record of all attendees.
The Government has given local authorities the power to implement local lockdowns if required, and this could include closing pitches if infections increase again.
Northumberland FA’s Acting Chief Executive, Andrew Rose-Cook said: “We are all learning to live with Covid-19. We’ve waiting a long time to get back to playing football but if we don’t all follow the guidance; we could easily be back to square one again.
“Please take time to read the guidelines and make sure you stick to them every time you play. Most of them are common sense, but they make a big difference to everyone’s safety.”
All the guidance is available at www.northumberlandfa.com/news/2020/jul/18/return-of-competitive-outdoor-grassroots-football
Councillor Sarah Day, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at North Tyneside Council, said: “Football has been sorely missed in North Tyneside and I welcome its return. It’s an important way for many people to stay healthy and active, and a social activity as well. As with the relaunch of our other leisure services, I urge people to enjoy our facilities responsibly, follow the guidance, and help to keep everyone safe.”
Councillor Irim Ali, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Public Health, said: “We know how important football is to our communities and we have been working hard to find a safe way for teams to get back to action.
“But this has to be managed safely by making sure we do not undermine the efforts that have already been made to help protect our city from a resurgence of coronavirus, and we need sports teams to cooperate with us make sure we’re in a position to act rapidly and effectively if we need to.
“The NHS Test and Trace system will be essential in this but there are also a number of other measures that need to be complied with if we are to be comfortable it is safe for leagues to resume.
“We want residents to be able to enjoy the many health and social benefits that football provides to communities but if there is any abuse of the system we will not hesitate to remove the pitches from use.”
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services at Northumberland County Council, said: “We know how much playing and watching sport has been missed over the past few months and it’s great we’re able to take the first steps in re-opening our football pitches.
“However we are still in the middle of a global pandemic and it’s vital everyone follows the safety guidelines at all times.”
Click here to download the poster.