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Guidelines for the Return of Grassroots Football

The FA has issued guidelines for the return of outdoor competitive grassroots football

Practical guidance for players, coaches, officials, volunteers, clubs, leagues, parents/carers and facility providers undertaking grassroots football activity in England

UPDATED 03/11/2020 11:30 [Confirmation grassroots football is suspended during national restrictions]

Following the UK Government's announcement of new national COVID-19 restrictions that will be in place from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December, it has been confirmed that all grassroots fixtures and training are suspended during this period (including one to one training of Under 18s).

It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions during this time, with no football activity taking place.

For more details of the restrictions and how they apply to football, please see our main Coronavirus Update page.

The information below outlines the measures that were required to resume football activity after the initial COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in March and we would expect that the rules for any potential return in December will be similar, although we will of course update in due course when we have further details.

As of 24 September, all COVID secure guidelines are now legal obligations. The Police have been given powers to enforce the rules with fines for breaches and businesses that do not comply could be closed. All football clubs and leisure facilities are expected to support the NHS Test and Trace efforts by registering for a QR code and displaying this for visitors to scan when they enter your venue. 

The FA have provided an updated FAQ document in relation to these most recent developments, which you can download here.

Please continue to follow all the measures previously outlined in allowing football to return. Football activity can only take place with the necessary modifications to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19 outlined in the detailed guidance below.

A summary of key points to consider from The FA’s guidelines are:

  • Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend;
  • Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19;
  • Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches;
  • Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play;
  • Indoor competitive recreational grassroots football and Futsal is permitted, subject to following the appropriate guidance
  • Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session;
  • Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play;
  • Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training;
  • Goal celebrations should be avoided;
  • Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training;
  • Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities;
  • Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle
  • Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace;
  • Clubs should ensure they are affiliated with their County FA before resuming

Competitive football activity should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completed the necessary risk assessments and comprehensive plans are in place.

Clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers, spectators and football facility providers should read the full guidelines in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19.

Re-starting grassroots football has been a significant challenge for everyone involved and we must acknowledge the hard work, passion and commitment of the football family. However, we must also re-iterate that it is vital that we all adhere to these guidelines and ensure it can continue in a safe and secure way.

The full, updated guidance documents which now include references to indoor competitive recreational grassroots football and Futsal can be downloaded below


General Guidance

Detailed COVID-19 Guidance on Re-starting Competitive Grassroots Football

Summary of COVID-19 guidance on Re-starting Competitive Grassroots Football


COVID-19 Risk Assessment Guidance and Template

First Aid Guidance for returning to competitive grassroots football

Facilities guidance on re-starting competitive grassroots football


League Specific Guidance

Leagues - Detailed COVID-19 Guidance on Re-starting Competitive Grassroots Football

NLS pyramid guidance on Return to Football

Womens Football Pyramid Club Guidance on Return to Football


Referee Specific Guidance

Referees - Detailed COVID-19 Guidance on Re-starting Competitive Grassroots Football

Referees - Summary of COVID-19 guidance on Re-starting Competitive Grassroots Football

Referee Specific Guidance on Returning to NLS Football

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