Grassroots football given green light for phased return

Greenfleets Stadium, home of Aylesbury Vale Dynamos who play in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division

Grassroots players, those in the men’s National League and lower tiers of women’s football can begin training with a view to commencing competitions in September, the FA has announced.

It follows the government’s approval on Friday, as lockdown measures in sport continue to be eased.

The new guidance comes with protocols in order to mitigate the transmission risk of Covid-19.

These include no goal celebrations and disinfecting of equipment.

Phased return – guidance from the Football Association:

  • Until 31 July: Competitive training can begin, with the overall group size (inclusive of coaches) being limited to 30 people
  • From August: Competitive matches can begin – e.g. pre-season fixtures, festivals and small-sided football competitions
  • From September: Grassroots leagues, men’s National League system, women’s football pyramid tiers three to six and FA competitions can commence

James Kendall, director of football development at the FA, said: “The past few months have been some of the most challenging times not just for football, but across society, and this news will be welcomed by the grassroots football community all over the country.

“Now that we are able to look ahead to the new season, it’s crucial that we continue to do all we can to follow safety measures, both as advised by the government and specifically for football.”

Grassroots clubs have been advised to keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS test and trace. The FA also states that players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home.

Meanwhile, the FA said that the resumption of indoor football and futsal remains on hold.