FA COVID Guidance for the Return of Football

Guidelines for the Return of Grassroots Football

The FA has issued updated guidelines for the return of organised outdoor football

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

UPDATED 11/05/2021 14:00

The Government has confirmed that on Monday 17th May we will enter Step 3 of the roadmap out of the national lockdown.

The FA have published updated guidance to reflect the changes to national restrictions. The key changes to note are in relation to spectators, indoor hospitality, and indoor football and futsal which are summarised below. 

This updated guidance comes into effect on Monday 17 May and until then all participants should follow the guidance for Step 2.

Please be aware that COVID-19 remains a highly infectious and dangerous disease. Every participant must play their part in helping to stop the spread of the virus. This is crucial both for the safety of everyone involved in the game.

This guidance is based on the information published by the Government to date. As we move through each new step of the Government’s roadmap, The FA will continue to update their guidance accordingly.

Further updates will be added to this page as appropriate.

Key Changes to Guidance Effective from 17 May 2021 (Step 3 of Roadmap)

Full details can be found in The FA's guidance documents which can be downloaded using the links at the bottom of this page.

Changing rooms

Changing rooms can be used as part of step two of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. However, participants should minimise their use of changing facilities where possible. Toilets will be allowed to open, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training and/or matches.


From Step 3, spectators will be permitted to view events on both public and private land  but need to adhere to social distancing rules and social gathering limits set at groups of 30 outdoors and six people/two households indoors. Please note that multiple numbers of these group sizes are permitted as long as social distancing rules are followed.

Spectators are allowed indoors, but the total number of all participants, coaches, officials and spectators must comply with the ventilation rates permitted by the particular venue. You can find more information about this on the Government website.

At larger events, capacity limits for spectators, set by The Government will apply. For indoor events this is 1,000 or 50% of capacity and for outdoor events this is 4,000 or 50% of capacity (whichever is lower in both cases).

Indoor Hospitality

As part of Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, both outdoor and indoor hospitality at ‘non-elite’ football is permitted. All participants must follow Government guidance on hospitality settings and specific advice for sport facility operators available on the Government's website.

People using clubhouses and hospitality facilities must adhere to legal gathering limits and wider government guidance.

Indoor Football and Futsal

From Step 3, indoor gatherings of either six people (the ‘rule of six’) or two households can take place. This means that organised indoor adult and children football can return.

For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there’s no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities. The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100 square ft per person.

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