COVID - Football Update

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Football Update - COVID

COVID-19

From Monday 29 March, as part of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, outdoor sports facilities can open, and organised outdoor football can take place.

The FA have now published updated guidance, based on the latest Government advice available, which applies to all outdoor youth and adult football and Futsal, including all formats of the game.

If there are any further updates from the Government, we'll communicate these in due course. We'll also update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Travel

The Government guidance on travel is that the ‘stay at home’ rule will end on Monday 29 March, but many restrictions will remain in place. 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.

Changing rooms

Changing rooms cannot be used as part of step one in the roadmap out of lockdown and must remain shut. Toilets will be allowed to open, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training and/or matches. All government guidance on hygiene and social distancing measures must be followed.

Spectators

No spectators are allowed at grassroots football as part of step one of the Government’s roadmap. One parent or guardian per child is permitted, where clubs and facilities can safely accommodate this and following all appropriate guidance.

2020/21 season latest update:

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions, the FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that, subject to the approval of the FA Council, the 2020-21 season for Steps 3-6 of the National League System should be curtailed with no further league matches taking place this season – this relates to our First Team / the Isthmian League South East Division (see full statement below).

Our Under 23s and Under 18s Isthmian League campaigns have also been curtailed. The Mid Sussex Football League have announced that our Third Team league season will restart on Saturday 3rd April and will continue into May while the Horsham & District Youth Football League have announced that our Under 10 mini soccer campaign will also restart from Saturday 3rd April until Saturday 1st May subject to further FA guidance. Our Under 17s and Under 16s compete in the Mid Sussex Youth Football League who have announced that “the remainder of the season is not viable to complete for any of the Divisions on the basis of information that is known to the League and it is therefore voided. The League remains committed in trying to facilitate the playing of Cup games and hopefully finals.”

An update on Steps 3-6 of the NLS

The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have now considered the large amount of data and information submitted by clubs across the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6 as part of a survey to gather views on the continuation or conclusion of the 2020-21 league season, in addition to the information set out in the Government’s roadmap this week.

Submissions were made by 99.1% of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, and 95.8% of clubs at Steps 5 and 6. We would like to thank the clubs for submitting their views and the time taken in providing responses during what we appreciate is an incredibly challenging period for everyone. The results of the survey showed that over 76% of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021.

During this process, taking into account views of clubs and leagues it was decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option. This was due to various considerations, including the financial implications for many clubs, player contracts and the extent of the fixture scheduling issues caused by the national lockdown and various postponements which had resulted in there being 81% of matches left to complete for Steps 3 and 4, and 75% at Steps 5 and 6.

Taking into account the survey results and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which continues to adversely affect incomes for clubs due to restrictions on both spectators and hospitality, The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season.

The Committees will now present their collective recommendations to The FA Council for ratification.

It has also been decided that subject to FA Council’s decision regarding the curtailment of the season at Steps 3 to 6, both committees will revisit discussions around a potential restructure at Steps 4-6 of the NLS, which was previously agreed and has been on hold since the 2019-20 season. A further update on this will be provided in due course.