SUFFOLK FA CEO Richard Neal has written to clubs ahead of matches this weekend.
In a message sent to club Chairs and Secretaries, he said there are some considerations clubs should be making to ensure everyone feels as comfortable and safe as possible, particularly ahead of the final weekend of matches before Christmas.
He said: “It has been some months now since I have had to send an email regarding government guidance and football participation. Whilst Covid has certainly been an ongoing problem through the season, particularly over the last couple of weeks it seems, hopefully campaigns have been able to progress largely on track under the watchful diligence of your committees and colleagues.
“Whilst I am waiting for an official document from The FA, I write to inform you that the understanding is the government’s move to ‘Plan B’ has no material impact on local football participation – matches can still go on and there are no additional requirements or restrictions in doing so.
“However, there are some considerations I think clubs should be making to ensure everyone feels as comfortable and safe as possible, in particular given this is the final weekend of matches before the Christmas period.
“Outside football participation remains a low-risk activity, it’s the time spent indoors which increase the risks. But with many people looking forward to this festive period even more than usual given the restrictions we were under last year, I believe we want to ensure we do what we can to make that possible.
“For youth football, especially where changing rooms aren’t used, as long as mixing is minimised and social distancing encouraged when possible I would consider the risks remain low.
“For football which would usually use changing rooms and showers and other indoor areas, teams/clubs/players should consider measures to minimise the risk of transmission. These might include:
- Requesting everyone undertakes a thorough self-assessment of their health prior to arriving at the game.
- Encouraging a lateral flow test be taken on the morning of the game, if possible.
- Allowing players to arrive/leave in items of kit and showering at home.
- Encouraging the use of a face covering if in a changing room.
- Hold all team talks outside (which in turn might mean a reduced half-time period) to limit time spent inside.
“Let’s face it, the new year is going to see a continuation of these circumstances, and potentially even a worsening of the situation, so measures that are taken for this weekend are unlikely to be wasted in preparation for the resumption after the festive period.”
Richard added that if clubs have any questions or concerns about their fixture this weekend, to contact their respective league.
He continued: “Whilst there are no restrictions on spectators or hospitality at matches, many clubs continue to implement measures to increase safety for all.
“Please do go and watch as many games as possible over this period, and we will soon post a list of the fixtures scheduled for the festive period, but also please be sympathetic to those at clubs who are trying their best to operate as normally and successfully as possible in incredible circumstances.
“On behalf of all at Suffolk FA, I thank you sincerely for the commitment, resilience and dedication to the game you continue to show in the most difficult of circumstances, and I hope you manage to enjoy some time with loved ones over the festive period.”