To All CFL Member Clubs & Management Committee
Ahead of the start of season 2020/21, I would like to take this opportunity to remind Clubs of the importance of ensuring full compliance with all FA and UK Government advice and guidance in respect of the return of grassroots football in light of Covid-19.
Where Covid-19 guidance does not allow for full adherence to League standards, the relevant Covid-19 guidance must be followed at all times. NB League Rules will still be enforced where appropriate (for example player eligibility/registration requirements etc.).
Club’s attention is drawn to the following guidance:
Pre Match Contact – Clubs must ensure pre-match contact is made with opponents and match officials in the usual manner. Pre match contact should include any Covid-19 specific requirements/restrictions that will be applicable to the fixture (eg dressing room access etc) including details of the Covid-19 officer.
NHS Test & Trace – Clubs and facility providers must support NHS test and trace efforts by collecting name and contact information of participants at matches.
Covid-19 Symptoms – All participants must undergo a self assessment for Covid-19 symptoms prior to matches and must not participate if demonstrating any such symptoms. Individuals should follow NHS and PHE guidance on self-isolation. Matches should still proceed as arranged.
Dressing Rooms – The availability of dressing rooms will vary and this will be dependent on each Club’s current Covid-19 risk assessment and at certain venues, subject to the facility provider. Matches may therefore proceed without the use of dressing room accommodation and Clubs must notify opponents and match officials whether dressing rooms will be available in their pre match contact. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow Government advice on the use of indoor facilities when available.
Team Sheets – Team sheets must still be completed by each Club and exchanged, where possible electronically (photo sent via email, WhatsApp etc), with opponents and the match referee. Where physical exchange is required, this should be done outdoors, at a distance and with minimal contact.
Respect Handshake – The Respect handshake pre match is suspended until further notice.
Technical Areas – Clubs will need to provide seating outside of the dugout in order to provide adequate social distancing for substitutes and coaching staff. Technical areas are allowed to be extended for this purpose. Where this is not possible, some personnel may be required to locate themselves outside of the perimeter barrier.
Refreshments – Players and match officials should bring their own personal water bottle/refreshments, which should be clearly labelled, and the use of communal water bottles should be discouraged.
Match Officials – Referees are not responsible for any breaches of Covid-19 guidelines on matchday. These must be reported post match. Referees have been advised therefore not to postpone/abandon matches due to perceived Covid breaches.
Payments – Any payments relating to the fixture (match fees, referee fees or facility fees) should, where possible, be made in a cashless manner and agreed beforehand. Where cash payments are agreed (for example to match officials who do not wish to be paid electronically), this should be done with minimal contact and always in an envelope.
Post Match Hospitality – Post-match hospitality may be offered by clubs in accordance with the latest Government guidance, where bars and restaurants have been able to open since 4 July, which includes any food or drink facilities inside a clubhouse.
This guidance is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a replacement for such, nor does it replace any Government or PHE advice; nor does it provide any specific commentary or advice on health-related issues. Affected organisations should therefore ensure that they seek independent advice from medical practitioners, or healthcare providers, prior to implementing any reopening plan, as required. Independent legal advice should be sought, as required and depending on your, or relevant circumstances.
While efforts have been taken to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the reader is reminded to check the Government website to obtain the most up-to- date information regarding social distancing and any other Government measures.