What does lockdown mean for grassroots football?

England is heading into another national lockdown, which will see lots of activities come to a temporary halt. But what does lockdown mean for grassroots football?

With the latest government rules due to come into force on Thursday 5 November, people will only be allowed to meet with one other person from outside their household in a public setting.

It means that football will be off the menu for millions of footballers up and down the country until December at the earliest.

Though schools will remain open and sports in those settings will be allowed to continue, kids football away from school must stop. In fact all non-elite football below step two of the pyramid – National League South and North – must be put on hold throughout November.

As a result of the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions, and subject to Members of Parliament voting tomorrow [Wednesday 4 November 2020] and the publication of bespoke guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period:

• All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
• All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
• All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
• All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
• All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;
• All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.

The FA

The FA Cup first round proper, which takes place this coming weekend and features a number of clubs from below step two, is allowed to continue also.

For JBFC a Saturday Club, the new restrictions mean we will be pausing our activity until further notice. All current players and parents will be informed of this via email and will be continually updated on our return to action.

There are currently three weeks remaining of the current term, so whether these will be completed before the Christmas or tagged onto the first term of 2021, we will update everyone in due course.

Meanwhile, there are also restrictions on one-to-one football coaching:

One-to-one coaching for under 18s is not allowed. There must always be at least two DBS- checked people present and supervising U18s and this should be pro-rata based on the ratio guidance. A risk assessment should be undertaken with mitigation managed locally to strike the right balance and first aid provision must be covered in the risk assessment. Clubs should ensure they liaise with local authorities to ensure reasonable adjustments are made when catering for players with disabilities.

The FA

For now, though, we can only hope that these latest measures are respected and work, enabling everyone to get back to their normal way of life as soon as possible.

Please stay safe.