Further to the government’s announcement on Saturday 19 December and subsequent statements on Wednesday 23 December and Wednesday 30 December with regards to the introduction of Tier 4 areas and the latest information on COVID-19, we have issued the following update.
Football for adult participants across ‘non-elite’ football in Tier 4 areas is not permitted, including all training and fixtures. This immediate advice in place from 20 December applies to the following aspects of ‘non-elite’ football in England in Tier 4 areas:
- Steps three to six of the National League System (NLS)
- Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid
- Regional NLS feeder leagues
- Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite guidance)
- Indoor and outdoor adult grassroots football
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup (which is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition)
The government’s Tier 4 guidance states organised outdoor sport for under-18s and disabled people will be allowed, while there are exemptions for any FA Girls' Regional Talent Clubs that have been individually approved to follow elite protocols.
The government’s guidelines on travel between tiers should be adhered to. These players cannot move in or out of Tier 4 or travel between Tier 4 areas, as listed by the government here, to train or play.
The government’s Tier 4 guidance confirms that elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) are able to compete and train.
It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers in Tiers 1 to 3 (and permitted football in Tier 4) continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA. Any incidents of non-compliance will be reported to the local County Football Association.
We have also published specific updates on the Vitality Women's FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase, while guidance for Tiers 1, 2 and 3 can be found here.
If there are any further updates from government we will communicate these in due course.
The County FA Offices will remain closed to all visitors until further notice. All enquiries can be made by either telephone (mobile) or email.
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Statement from the FA (2nd December 2020)
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS] has this evening issued updated guidelines on the return to recreational team sport which permits the return of ‘non-elite’ football in England from Wednesday 2 December, and includes all fixtures and training for:-
• Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
• Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
• Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
• Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
• FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;
• Outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.
Organised outdoor football activity is permitted at these levels across all three tiers from Wednesday 2 December but it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA.
Organised indoor football and Futsal is permitted in Tier 1 areas if the rule of six is followed and in Tier 2 areas if the rule of six is followed and it is possible for people to avoid mixing with others that they do not live or share a support bubble with. Indoor football is not permitted in Tier 3 areas.
In all three tiers there are exceptions for indoor disability football, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for U18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.
Training for teams in Tier 3 must have minimal contact.
Adults can travel to play grassroots football in between Tier 1 and Tier 2. However, adults cannot travel in and out of Tier 3 to play grassroots football. There are exemptions for travel in and out of Tier 3 for U18s, disability teams, volunteers, elite players and for those travelling for work.
Players and essential club staff at steps 3-6 of the NLS, tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid, the Barclays FA WSL Academy and Regional Talent Clubs can travel into and out of tier 3 areas.
Clubs at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and Tiers 3-6 of the WFP remain permitted to accommodate a phased and limited return of spectators in Tier 1 and 2 areas if they follow the UK Governments’ latest guidance on COVID-19 and The FA’s guidelines for the NLS or WFP. There are no spectators permitted in Tier 3, as set out in Government guidance.
Regional NLS Feeder Leagues, Tier 7 of the WFP and outdoor grassroots football also remain permitted to accommodate socially-distanced spectators but must follow the rule of six and Government guidance on restrictions in certain tiers.
Clubhouses can operate in Tier 1 but must do so by table service (ordered and consumed at the table) only and observing the rule of six. In Tier 2, Clubhouses must close unless they operate as if they were a restaurant. This means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal and all food and drink to be ordered and consumed at the table. Tables can only be same household and takeaway must be eaten or drunk off the club premises. Under UK Government guidelines, bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants in Tier 3 areas must be closed except to sell by takeaway or click-and-collect.
All clubs are required to have a designated COVID-19 officer; complete and publish bespoke risk assessments and action plans; and continue to support Test and Trace efforts.
The 2020-21 FA Youth Cup will continue to be played under the relevant ‘elite’ club protocol and the Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase are set to resume in December, along with the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
We implore everyone to strictly follow the UK Government’s national COVID-19 restrictions. Any incidents of non-compliance will be reported to the local County Football Association.
We would like to thank the football community once again for its hard work, resilience and understanding during such an incredibly challenging period for both the game and wider society.
Grassroots Football Guidance
Women's Football Pyramid (Tiers 3-6): Covid-19 Guidance
National League System Guidance
Summary of Grassroots Football in the three Covid-19 Tiers