Thank you for your patience and understanding, the following information applies to Grassroots Football at NLS Feeder Leagues (Step 7) and below and applies to all member clubs and leagues affiliated or sanctioned by County FA’s in Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Westmorland, Cumberland and Liverpool. We fully appreciate and thank everyone of our volunteers involved in the grassroots game across the North West for all your continued hard work in ensuring the safe return of football.
However, it is imperative that everyone involved in the grassroots game continues to be vigilant and follows the governments restrictions and the guidance set in place by the Football Association. For the avoidance of any doubt, any teams where it is found that Players, Coaches, Volunteers or Spectators are not adhering to the government restrictions and FA guidance will face sanctions for non-compliance, including removal of fixtures.
Grassroots football and other sporting activities are permitted despite wider restrictions because of the benefits of sport and physical activity for people’s physical and mental wellbeing. If people act irresponsibly when participating in grassroots football (including off the pitch, and when socialising before and after activity) they jeopardize public health and undermine the case for safe sport to take place.
The Football Association and County FA’s are responsible for ensuring that clubs and leagues are running their activities safely, and we will take action to address any issues, including putting in place additional measures or suspending players / teams / leagues / clubs which do not adhere to guidance.
If there are serious or consistent concerns with non-compliance of COVID guidelines at grassroots football which fail to be addressed, then the government may revoke the ability for grassroots football to take place.
The following are the collective agreements that are now in place for all football taking place in the North West.
- From the updated guidance provided adult clubs and individuals (Players, Coaches and Spectators) cannot move in or out of a ‘Very High’, Tier 3 region to participate.
For absolute clarity the above means that travel is NOT permitted from a Tier 3 to another Tier 3 area (For example Greater Manchester to Lancashire and or Vice Versa), or from a Tier 3 to a Tier 2 area and vice versa (such as Lancashire to Liverpool City Region, Cumbria to Lancashire or Cheshire to Greater Manchester.)
Youth Football (Under 18’s), Including Disability Football
- With regards to youth football (Under 18’s) and all disability football. At this present time there are no new restrictions on movement/travel of youth teams, players, coaches and or volunteers (including parents, in line with our North West guidance below) irrespective of which Tier you are in.
- Match Officials are exempt and are free to travel within the tiers.
We cannot stress enough the critical importance of all involved in the game doing their level best to allow the grassroots game to continue. Our key guidance in the North West is as follows:
- Social distancing wherever possible for players, and always in the case of spectators
- Robust hygiene standards as per risk assessments but including the wearing of masks in toilet blocks etc.
- Effective registering of attendees primarily via the NHS Test and Trace QR code system
- All spectators are discouraged from attending adult games
- Strongly recommend at all youth games a maximum of one accompanying adult per child, wherever possible
- Provide local adult fixtures within your catchment area, as detailed in the statement above.
There may also be local restrictions per local authority/city region which supersedes any provisions in the FA guidance, for example, Spectators attending matches.
The following defines which local authorities are aligned to which regions and which Tier they are in:
National League System & Women’s Football Pyramid
Lancashire – All Tier 3
Cheshire – All Tier 2
All Tier 3
Cumbria - All Tier 2
All Tier 2
Blackburn with Darwen
Cheshire West & Chester
Barrow in Furness
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 Womens Football Pyramid also remain permitted to accommodate socially-distanced spectators but must follow the rule of six and Government guidance on restrictions in certain tiers.
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.
The guidance in this statement is based on the current position and we will continue to review in line with any government tier reviews.