Following the Governments notification on 18/08/2020 in relation to the easement of the local down guidance for Leicester city, the city’s outdoor recreation team have confirmed that there appears to be no logical reason why the easements would not apply to football and therefore we have been informed that national guidance can now apply to outdoor sport.
Whilst the guidance did not provide the clear clarification of how the easements would apply to football, the decision has been made by the City Council in conjunction with letters received from Matt Hancock to John Ashworth MP, Liz Kendall MP and Claudia Webb MP (taken from https://twitter.com/ClaudiaWebbe) focusing on two key points:
- The announcement has said that the Government is implementing the 11 and 13 July national business easements to Leicester.
- The statement that “Gatherings in pubic outdoor spaces are limited to 30 people for informal gatherings, with no legal limit for Covid-19 secure events (e.g. those organised by a proper business or charity in compliance with law/guidance).” Effectively limited by NGB guidance and 30 people.
Therefore clubs who have been part of lockdown restrictions are now eligible to follow FA national guidelines in relation to the safe return to football.
National League System [NLS] and Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP] phased and limited return of spectators
The Football Association [The FA] has today issued updated guidelines for the National League System [NLS] and Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP] that include a phased and limited return of spectators for clubs at Steps 3-6 and Tiers 3-4 respectively.
The FA worked continuously alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the Sports Grounds Safety Authority [SGSA] and leagues to submit detailed proposals for a phased and limited return of spectators at these levels to the UK Government.
The DCMS has now clarified its guidance on the return to recreational team sport and clubs at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and Tiers 3-4 of the WFP are permitted to accommodate a phased and limited return of spectators to fixtures. However, they must follow the UK Government’s guidance in relation to Covid-19 and The FA’s updated guidelines for the NLS or WFP respectively.
In addition, Regional NLS Feeder League clubs and clubs at Tiers 5-6 of the WFP are permitted to accommodate socially-distanced spectators in line with The FA’s guidelines for grassroots football.
All clubs at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and Tiers 3-4 of the WFP are required to have a designated Covid-19 Officer; complete and publish bespoke risk assessments and action plans; and arrange support for Track and Trace efforts before implementing the following:
- From 22 August 2020 to 30 August 2020, spectators are permitted to attend fixtures at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and Tiers 3-4 of the WFP, providing that their number does not exceed 15% of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels or respective figures set out within The FA’s updated guidelines;
- If a club at these levels does not play any fixtures during this period, it must have played at least one pre-season or competitive fixture in accordance with its respective level of spectators before moving on to Stage Two.
- From 31 August 2020, clubs at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and Tiers 3-4 of the WFP will be permitted to allow spectators to attend fixtures provided that their number does not exceed 30% of the minimum ground grading capacity at their level or the respective figures set out within The FA’s updated guidelines. However, they must be satisfied that they have been able to comply with the Government’s guidance on the return to recreational team sport and The FA’s updated guidelines.
The phased and limited return of spectators at these levels will be kept under constant review in line with the UK Government’s guidelines and will be amended accordingly as required.
Please see The FA’s updated guidelines for the NLS, WFP and grassroots for further information.