As we are now well into an unprecedented and undoubtedly challenging 2020-21 season, I felt it appropriate to update you in relation to safely playing and watching football during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the hard-working volunteers who are going above and beyond to ensure football is played safely, whether that be the players, officials, coaches or spectators. The work you are currently undertaking, in addition to your normal volunteering responsibilities, is unlike anything the football world has had to think about before.
With rising Covid-19 prevalence across the county, the risk of the postponement of grassroots football is becoming increasingly prominent. However, at this point in time there is a commitment to allow the game to continue in accordance with The FA’s guidance. I must stress that for the game to continue for the benefit of the health and well-being of its participants, the relevant FA Return to Football Guidance must be strictly followed at all times. Whilst there have been some fantastic pieces of best-practice across the county of organisations and individuals ensuring their environment is ‘Covid-19 secure’ we have also received reports where the FA guidelines aren’t being fully implemented.
One of the key concerns being shared with us relates to spectators; It is imperative that all spectators maintain social distancing and government restrictions are always followed. For absolute clarity, at this current time, spectators must remain socially distanced and in discrete groups of no more than 6 and these groups must not mix under any circumstances. Please be reminded that the FA guidance is only in place whilst in the football environment and as soon as this is finished local restrictions must be strictly adhered to.
Here is the link to the latest FA guidance, which I strongly urge you to revisit and update relevant policies and procedures. The guidance has been developed over time to respond to the constant updates in national policy and includes information regarding when players test positive for the virus. In these situations, please contact your relevant league at the earliest possible opportunity.
We all - clubs, parents, players, match officials and spectators - have a responsibility to keep our game safe. We require your ongoing support and I ask that you remind all involved of their obligation to comply with the safety measures that are in place. As ever, we are available to provide further support to help the implementation of the guidance where requested.
We are in regular contact with relevant agencies identifying areas of good practice whilst also highlighting areas of concern. We are fully supportive of all actions taken to keep people safe in football. If the FA guidance is not implemented, this course of action would result in further dialogue with the key public health partners to ensure both the national FA and wider government guidelines are followed.
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do in ensuring that football is played and enjoyed in as safe an environment as possible.