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.
Further FA financial support for the game
With the assistance of Sport England, we're pleased to confirm we will be offering funding to County FAs to provide discounted 2021-22 season affiliation. This will be available across the whole of affiliated football, assisting everyone with getting back to the game they love, and especially those from under-represented areas of the game such as women and girls, lower socio-economic groups, minority groups and those with a disability.
We, alongside Sport England, strongly encourage all of those restarting in the weeks ahead to ensure that everyone is able to benefit, no matter their age or gender, from fair and equal access to playing opportunities.
In addition to this, our ‘Return to Football Fund’, made possible with Sport England funding from the National Lottery, will provide £2.1 million targeted at supporting people in low participation groups to start playing again. It will also fund initiatives aimed at bringing new players into the game and cover the cost of adapting to COVID-19 rules.
Finally, alongside our partners at the Football Foundation, we also recently announced two other new funds to provide further financial support to clubs over the longer term.
The £14 million Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund is providing six-year tapered grants to improve the quality of grass pitches, while the Small Grants fund is available to help clubs pay for essential equipment and machinery they need to start playing again.
Clubs can apply for up to £25k to refurbish their changing rooms, pay for grass pitch drainage, new goalposts, pitch maintenance equipment and portable floodlights.
For more information about the funds and how to apply, visit the Football Foundation website.
Clubs and leagues can access our online support hub and podcasts which includes up to date information, guidance and signposts as well as other useful information relating to funding and support services.
Football activity guidance - master guidance re-starting outdoor football - 8 April
Football activity guidance for providers for football activities - 8 April
COVID-19 safeguarding risk assessment guidance and template - 8 April
First Aid guidance for return to competitive grassroots football - 8 April
LANCASHIRE FA CLARIFICATION ON THE ABOVE FA GUIDANCE
Lancashire FA would like to provide some addition clarity on the above guidance, which has been provided following a number of enquiries made.
We would ask all clubs, volunteers, players, parents and carers and match officials to familiarise themselves with the contents of the guidance shared as it is critical to remember that this is step one of a gradual easing of restrictions and hence football is being played very much under strict conditions.
Failure to adhere rigidly to the guidance, or an upsurge in Covid transmission, will almost certainly result in a further suspension of the game.
We are confident that the grassroots community in Lancashire will be fully compliant with guidance and rules to allow ongoing participation in the game and would specifically like to draw your attention to the following conditions which are in place currently:
Changing rooms remain out of use at all times unless there is a clearly defined disability or safeguarding need. In such cases occupancy should be minimised and a strict hygiene regime should be put in place.
Players cannot share a vehicle with a person from outside their own family or support bubble. Clubs and leagues will need to be mindful of this when planning fixtures and assessing their viability.
There can be no spectators at adult games presently. In the youth game, a parent can attend a match or training session where a safeguarding need has been identified, but this does not extend to both parents/carers or whole families.
Tournaments and Festivals
We understand some clubs will be looking to arrange competitions, festivals and tournaments, particularly with the summer fast approaching. Immediately, given the significant Covid restrictions in place, it is highly unlikely any traditional tournament or festival to be held, prior to April 12th, will be sanctioned.
Lancashire FA received the DCMS and FA guidance at the same time as it was released nationally, so we are now urgently reviewing that guidance in relation to sanctioning future events. We will release further advice on our website, through newsletters and via social media as soon as possible so that safe planning can commence. Please note we will also need to liaise with the relevant local authorities to ensure they are satisfied with the plans presented to us by clubs. As such all applications for tournament sanctioning will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Please click here to submit a pre-tournament application.