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Extracts from football restart guidance

Yesterday the Football issued new guidance to grassroots football clubs to enable them to restart competitive football from 29 March. This was announced on this website last night and included a copy of the full guidance.

The new guidance issued by the Football Association to support the restart of grassroots football is 16-pages long. The headlines include

  • Risk assessment to be undertaken by all clubs

  • Emergency Medical Plan to be introduced by each club

  • COVID-19 Officer to be appointed by each club

  • NHS Test & Trace rules to be followed at all venues

  • Equipment should not be shared

  • Spectators not allowed

  • Social distancing rules to be followed at all times

Whilst all these may not apply to the bowling version of the guidance it gives some early indication of what levels of control may be introduced.

Below are a few extracts that can be expected to be translated and included in the bowling guidance. It should be stressed that these extracts apply only to grassroots football from 29 March but will give some clues as to what to expect in the bowling guidance when issued. All guidance will be updated for the start of Step 2 of the Road Map which becomes effective on 12 April and is expected to relax some of the controls below.

F.A. Guidance Extracts

Before re-starting playing/training, clubs must carry out a risk assessment and record the procedures and checks put in place. It’s essential everyone is clear about the restrictions and works together to manage social distancing, strict hand hygiene and the other protocols set out in this document. Clubs should also update their medical emergency action plan around player care and strictly follow the first-aid guidance document published by The FA, without exception. This is both to protect players and any club member who is trying to aid the player if an emergency arises.

All clubs must identify a Covid-19 officer who is responsible for developing a Covid-19 plan and a general risk assessment prior to the restart of any activity. The Covid-19 officer should continually monitor how compliance is being observed within the club.

A specific safeguarding risk assessment must also be produced. The Covid-19 officer may choose to enlist the support of their club/committee as they see fit. The FA has produced guidance on conducting a safeguarding risk assessment, which includes a template for self-completion. It can be found on

  • The Covid-19 officer should consider establishing a Covid-19 group to be responsible for producing and implementing the Covid-19 risk assessment and to oversee the safe return to play.

  • The Covid-19 officer at each club will be responsible for clearly communicating all relevant guidance to its players, coaches and volunteers.

  • Clubs should also check the insurance policies they have in relation to all football activities (e.g. personal accident and public liability), specifically any changes to insurance provider’s advice and guidance on returning to competitive play, ensuring full compliance with its terms.

Clubs and facility providers must adhere to the NHS Test and Trace system.

Competitive training can take place for all participants, in an outdoor setting. Care should be taken on busy sites with limited access points to ensure safe play. Facilities should consider staggering start times and allowing cleaning time between change-overs. Clubs should determine the appropriate ratio of coaches to participants, following the relevant FA safeguarding policy outlined in safeguarding Guidance Notes 5.5. In all settings before and after the session, and in any breaks, all participants should practise social distancing, in line with Government guidelines. No spectators are allowed at grassroots football, including training sessions, as part of step one of the Government’s roadmap, unless for safeguarding purposes, and this should be limited to one parent or carer per child.

The pre-match handshake should not happen. Instead, players will be asked to handsanitise before kick-off;

The sharing of equipment must be avoided where possible. Where equipment is shared, equipment must be cleaned before use by another person.

No spectators are allowed at grassroots football as part of step one of the Government’s roadmap, unless for safeguarding purposes, and this should be limited to one parent or carer

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Mar 25, 2021

Quite a lot to do. Can’t see how Clubs can prevent spectators at local parks when spectators tend to wander along to watch a game. Can’t see local football Clubs monitoring this.

Philip of Lindley

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