The FA, Premier League, EFL and FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest.
This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the Covid-19 virus.
It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the FA Cup and the Women’s FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.
The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today’s action. However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so.
The FA is liaising with the National League pyramids (men’s and women’s) and will continue to offer guidance and support. Any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league as autonomous bodies within the game.
The Lincolnshire FA have received a high volume of enquires seeking guidance with regards to the current outbreak of Coronavirus and attempts to control its spread, regarding the use of pre/post-match handshakes at grassroots football matches and continuation of fixtures.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and follow the advice provided by the Government. While at the time of writing this does highlight and emphasise the need for good hand hygiene at all times as a preventative measure, it does not offer any directive to say that people should not shake hands or that grassroots sporting fixtures should be postponed or played behind closed doors.
At present, any decision to continue playing or to postpone competitions is a matter for each League as autonomous bodies within the game.
We urge everyone involved to take a common-sense approach to this issue. If teams feel happier not to shake hands, then that is their choice and we encourage leagues to be understanding of teams making this choice currently. Should teams decide not to shake hands or opt for an alternative method this must be conveyed to the match referee before the teams enter the field of play.
Leagues themselves may choose to issue a policy to remove the procedural pre/post-match handshake, but this would be solely at their discretion.
Additionally, we shall continue to follow guidance from The FA and the Government around the fulfilment of sporting events.
What if the Situation Changes?
We are actively monitoring Government advice in case the situation changes and additional measures become necessary.
As a matter of good practice would recommend that Leagues and Clubs adopt the same approach.
Further updates will be added to this page as appropriate.