GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL IS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING AN UNPRECEDENTED PERIOD OF DISRUPTION DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Quite rightly the focus is on staying safe and adhering to Government social isolation guidelines. We are aware though that clubs, leagues and volunteers are looking for the most up-to-date information on the current and future impact on grassroots football as a result of the pandemic.
When will Football start again?
We wish we knew! The situation regarding Covid-19 is incredibly fluid and it is impossible to say at this stage when and how football will be back. Like you we are already desperate for it to return!
Is there a chance that next season may not be able to start on time?
We hope that things will be back to normal next season, but it certainly remains a definite possibility that there may be a delay. The government will determine when and how the current restrictions that are in place are lifted and only once it is safe to do so will The FA permit grassroots football to start again.
As this season has been concluded, does that mean that as a player I can now sign for another club for next season?
No. As it stands there has been no change to the Rules regarding player registrations so players cannot sign for next season yet. Players are free to join new teams from the 31st May as per a normal season.
Are we able to train as a team?
No. The suspension also applies to training. If a team were to organise a training session this would contravene the Government’s current advice and you would not be covered by the Club’s Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance.
Can we play friendlies?
No. There is no difference between playing a friendly and playing a league or cup match. You cannot play any football whilst the suspension is in place. It is important to understand that if you were to play a friendly, you would not be covered by the Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance.
What about small-sided football?
Yes, all affiliated football is currently suspended for the foreseeable future so that covers every format of the game.
Funding and Club membership advice
How will my club pay its bills?
We do recognise that this is a significant worry for many clubs and County FA’s are currently discussing the financial implications of the suspension with The FA who in turn are talking to the Government. At this stage it is simply too soon to give any further information about any support that may be available, although the Treasury have issued the following:
• Grant funding of £25,000 is available for hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
• A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will be introduced.
For further support, please visit the Government’s support for businesses page or contact your local authority which will be issued with guidance to help businesses in their area.
Is there any funding for clubs during this time?
Sport England have released an emergency fund in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Local clubs, leagues and community sports organisations who are experiencing short-term financial hardship due to the impact of Covid-19 are eligible to apply to Sport England’s new Community Emergency Fund. We encourage all our affiliated clubs and sanctioned leagues to consider applying if emergency money is needed.
Can clubs still charge subscriptions while all football is postponed?
This is a club decision. We would advise that you consult with players, parents and guardians on reaching a decision. Clubs who own / lease facilities will still have bills to pay and this should be explained. However, clubs should be mindful of people who are currently out of work as result of COVID-19 or have had their working hours reduced and may struggle to make payments. Could you: –
• offer payment holidays for those in need?
• allow subscriptions to be paid in instalments?