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An Update for 'Non-Elite' Football Following the UK Government's Latest Announcement

The Football Association has provided an update for ‘non-elite’ football in England

The Football Association [The FA] has provided an update for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the UK Government’s announcement on new national Covid-19 restrictions that will be in place from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020. 
As a result of the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions, and subject to Members of Parliament voting tomorrow [Wednesday 4 November 2020] and the publication of bespoke guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period: 

All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];

All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];

All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues; 

All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League; 

All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;

All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.  

The FA’s aim is to ensure that the 2020/21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations [CFAs] to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required. 

The UK Government has confirmed that school sport can continue as an exemption during this period. 

In addition, the UK Government has confirmed that all Emirates FA Cup First Round fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend between Friday 6 and Monday 9 November 2020. The ten ‘non-elite’ clubs that remain in the competition will be able to play their fixtures under ‘elite’ protocols. In line with the new national Covid-19 restrictions, these ‘non-elite’ teams are only permitted to train together until Wednesday 4 November 2020.

Further updates on fixtures and dates for the 2020/21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, The FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will follow in due course. 

Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and The FA would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions. However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions during this period. 

The FA remains in dialogue with the DCMS, leagues, competitions and CFAs and will provide further clarification for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the debate in the House of Commons tomorrow. 


1. What is The FA’s safeguarding position on one-to-one coaching for under 18s?

One-to-one coaching for under 18s is not allowed. There must always be at least two DBS checked people present and supervising U18s and this should be pro-rata based on the ratio guidance. A risk assessment should be undertaken with mitigation managed locally to strike the right balance and first aid provision must be covered in the risk assessment. Clubs should ensure they liaise with local authorities to ensure reasonable adjustments are made when catering for players with disabilities.

2. Can schools football outside of a school setting at the weekend still take place (i.e. school district teams, County Schools Association representative teams)?

The UK Government has confirmed that while school sport can continue, no grassroots sport can take place outside of the school setting during the lockdown period.

3. Can education programmes run at colleges in partnership with club academies still deliver the football elements?

We are waiting for the Department for Education to publish its guidance to confirm this point.

4. Is there an exemption for 16-18-year olds in college and university to play football?

At present the UK Government has not confirmed any exemption for college or university students to allow them to play football. If there are any further developments or changes to the UK Government’s position, we will update our statement accordingly.

5. Can football facilities stay open?

To reduce social contact, the UK Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include indoor and outdoor sports facilities.