Lancashire Football Association has been gathering interest ahead of our Test to Play trial, which is being implemented in collaboration with Public Health Lancashire and the Lancashire Resilience Forum to help identify asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 within grassroots football.
Whilst football in certain areas of Lancashire was temporarily suspended earlier this month, Lancashire FA has been in regular dialogue with our partners to identify ways in which grassroots football can become more secure and sustainable in the future.
Lancashire FA is extremely grateful to the many clubs and leagues who have expressed an interest in our Test to Play initiative, which is being organised in cooperation with LCC, PHE and the LRF.
It has become clear that the requirements of testing mean that on-pitch testing is unlikely to be feasible; however, we are continuing to discuss other options around testing and will provide information as and when these discussions firm up.
We remain in constant dialogue with local authorities and all have the cooperative aim of making football as safe as possible for participants and the wider community.
Each player will complete a lateral flow Covid-19 test, which gives results within around 20 minutes. The test is conducted via a throat swab just ahead of playing.
Testing is not mandatory to enable a player to continue to play; however, it should be encouraged.
A negative test result will allow players to continue with the game, whilst still making sure they adhere to all Covid-compliant requirements. Anyone testing positive will immediately self-isolate, removing the chance of them unknowingly transmitting the virus.
Public Health experts anticipate that this will help identify at least 50% of asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 within those tested, and this will help to provide comfort to the players and participants involved in the game.
With the sheer volume of the grassroots football population in Lancashire, which involves around 100,000 people travelling around the county each weekend, testing within football can dramatically reduce asymptomatic virus transmission in Lancashire and will actively support and promote the county's movement to lower risk tiers. This trial will be carried out in collaboration between Lancashire Football Association, Public Health Lancashire and the Lancashire Resilience Forum.
By working together, we can make a positive difference within grassroots football and in the wider local community. Thank you.