Football and Coronavirus, FAQs
UPDATED ON 12TH June
Any updates on this will be in red text, confirming decisions made by The FA and CFA to assist you in these uncertain times. Any new questions we add will appear in red text and will be accurate as of the time of posting, which is listed above.
We want to help our clubs and leagues find some clarity with a number of their questions during this difficult time. There have been wide ranging effects from the ongoing pandemic, and Middlesex FA have created the following ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ guide to assist you.
Can teams still train?
In line with the Governments announcement of 28th May 2020, social gatherings of up to 6 people are to be allowed, provided social distancing regulations are observed as of 1st June 2020. This means that there is now the possibility to provide limited training for 5 players, based on there being 1 coach present, making the group of 6. With this new development, thanks to the gradual easing of lock down protocols, The FA released limited guidance on 1st June reflecting on the government advice.
Over the past few weeks County FAs across the country have received a range of questions as we delved deeper into the complexities of football with social distancing. With that in mind The FA have released expanded guidance documents covering core stakeholders within the game, outdoor football providers, parents and carers, adult players, and coaches. This guidance was released on 12th June and all documents and the full FA statement can be found below.
Guidance for Parents and Carers
Guidance for Football Providers
Can i use my usual facility for training?
If you plan to resume training, you should ensure that you check with your facility provider to ensure they give you permission to use the facility.
Can we continue to charge and collect our club subscription fees whilst all football is postponed?
This is a club decision, and we encourage all clubs to consult with their players, parents and guardians before reaching a decision on this. Clubs who own or lease their facilities will still have bills to pay and this should be explained during these discussions.
We do also remind clubs to be mindful of people who are currently out of work as a result of COVID-19 or have had their working hours reduced. This means that they may struggle to make payments to clubs at this point.
Things to consider during consultation:
Could you offer payment holidays for those in need?
Can you allow subscriptions to be paid in instalments?
Would people be prepared to pay an advance on their subs to help the club out in the short-term, if they are so able?
Is there any funding for clubs during this time?
We have created a League and Club Support page that can be found here we have compiled a range of opportunities to support you.
The Chancellor has set out a support package targeted at supporting public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by the spread of COVID-19.
This support includes a package of measures targeted at businesses, including:
A statutory sick pay relief package for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.
Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
The coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs though the British Business Bank.
A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flow through loans.
The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme.
Sport England have released the Community Emergency Fund
The fund has been developed to help community sport and physical activity organisations meet their obligations, in particular fixed costs, which are no longer supported with revenue as a result of coronavirus. This might cover expenditure on:
• Utility costs
• Facility or equipment hire
• Core staffing costs (including casual workers) that cannot be met elsewhere by other government funds
• Retrospective losses dating from 1 March, 2020
For example, the fund can be used to support a local league that has paid for equipment to run a competition which is now cancelled and therefore will not receive the money the players in the league would have paid.
Is my league going to finish? What about Cup Finals?
Today (26th March 2020) The FA made a statement regarding the conclusion of the 2019/20 season. This statement came following speculation that Steps 5 & 6 of the NLS would be ended immediately.
The full statement from today (26th March) has indeed confirmed that the NLS leagues from Step 3 down to Step 7 would end immediately, with all results being expunged from the record, with no promotion and no relegation. With that in mind the National League (Steps 1 & 2) have made it clear they intend to complete their season if possible. As a result of this decision, with no promotion from Step 3 to Step 2, when and if the Step 2 season is completed there will be no relegation for clubs to Step 3.
This decision also impacts the Women's game. The FA and the Leagues within Tiers 3 to 7 have reached a consensus to bring the season to an immediate end and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between Tiers 3 to 7. Agreement has also been reached to end the Regional Talent Clubs season, which was due to conclude in April 2020.
The FA remain in consultation with the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship Board and clubs regarding the most appropriate way to complete the current season; including the Barclays FA Women’s Super League Academy.
Other Saturday football that happens below Step 7, all Sunday mens football, and all grassroots youth league, both boys and girls, will be finished immediately, the decision on how the season is resolved lies with the leagues, meaning it is at their discretion how positions, promotion/relegation are decided, or if like the NLS and Women's pyramid they wish to expunge the results, with no promotion or relegation.
Part of The FA statement does touch on Cup Competitions and they have provided us with a clarification around Cup Finals that may allow us to complete our Cup Finals Programme. With that in mind we are looking at how we will be able to complete our Cup Finals and if it is possible, as a 'one off' game.
At this point all Cup Finals are postponed. When we have any further news, we will update all clubs involved in the Finals or those still to play ties in earlier rounds of competitions.
What do I need to do so that my team or club are ready to play when this is all over?
We encourage all our clubs to review any outstanding discipline payments and look to get these paid over the next few weeks. Our Football Services Team are still working and available to take any payments or field any of your questions.
Being proactive in this matter will prevent your club or team falling into suspension during this unprecedented pause in the season, meaning you can get right back to playing when the season recommences in whatever form it takes.
Can I attend / affiliate summer tournaments?
All football is currently postponed. As a result, any affiliated tournament due to be played should not go ahead. We are actively monitoring the government and FA guidance on COVID-19 and should there be any changes we will update those clubs that are running such events.
During this period Middlesex FA will not be able to sanction or affiliate any new summer tournaments.
What happens with my club’s annual health check?
All Annual Health Checks and New Charter Standard applications will be ‘awarded’ if there are sufficient action plans in place. If you haven’t spoken with your Football Development Officer yet, then please do so. Any actions will be picked up when football can safely resume.
I am a Registered Referee – Can I still referee for small-sided football providers?
All FA (County FA) affiliated referees should only be officiating in leagues, competitions and tournaments that are affiliated by The FA or the relevant County FA. Officiating in any form of unaffiliated football could result in disciplinary action being taken by the County FA. The FA is strongly advising that no football should be played for the foreseeable future, therefore any affiliated referees are asked not to officiate in any environment at this time.
Can I still have my FA DBS Verified?
As the Government is currently advising social distancing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 we have been told that all DBS verifications, both existing and new, have been put on hold.
On 2nd April 2020, the FA provide the below update:
The FA is implementing temporary changes to DBS checks in football for the period that football is suspended due to coronavirus, up to and including the start of the 2020-2021 season. These changes are outlined below and will apply to all roles in football.
This decision has been made in light of the current cessation of football activity, difficulties regarding online ID verification for the purposes of renewing a DBS check and demand on the DBS service due to the current health crisis.
1. All volunteers carrying out regulated activity with U18s (in accordance with DBS guidance) require an Enhanced DBS with a check of the Children’s Barring List before they commence their role within football. This is current practice and will remain in place. However, we ask that new DBS checks are not submitted (from today onwards) whilst football activity remains suspended. For the avoidance of doubt, volunteers will not be permitted to carry out regulated activity with U18s until they have obtained a DBS check. The FA will provide a further update on processing new DBS checks in due course when there is further clarity on football activity will resume.
2. All individuals whose DBS checks are due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 1 October 2020 will not be required to renew their DBS checks until 1 year after the scheduled date of expiry. The FA currently requires DBS checks to be renewed every 3 years in accordance with industry standards and best practice.
However, we have made an informed decision to extend that to 4 years, in these limited circumstances, on the basis of the current health crisis and associated difficulties in DBS check renewal and the fact that these individuals already hold a DBS check which has been accepted by The FA.
a. The FA is currently proposing an end date of 1 October 2020, based on the fact that this season’s grassroots footballing activity has ended and the assumption that pre-season will commence with the start of the youth season starting September 2020. However, as circumstances develop, this date is potentially subject to change.
b. The FA’s proposals outlined above are applicable to all DBS checks completed through The FA.
c. The FA’s Whole Game System will be updated to reflect these changes.
Please note that the changes outlined above are temporary, and The FA reserves the right to review an damend the position, including to reflect changes in legislation and/or statutory guidance with respect to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and further clarity on when football activity will resume.
The above changes are made to support the footballing family in the immediate term and to support a return to football activity in the longer term whilst ensuring The FA’s commitment to safeguarding remains in place.
If a coach’s DBS expires during this time can they continue coaching after the season restarts?
As part of a clubs safeguarding responsibility all youth coaches must have an accepted DBS if they are continuing to work with young people under the age of 18. We are awaiting further advice from The FA in relation the renewal of DBS checks for those that have expired. As per the above DBS information provided by The FA on 2nd April, all DBS Checks that are due to expire between 1st March 2020 and 1st October 2020 will have their expiry dates extend by 12 months.
Is my Middlesex FA Coach Education course running?
At this point in time we have had to postpone all Middlesex FA courses up to and including 4th July. This blanket postponement effects, every course we were running during this period, this does also include those such as Level 1 & 2 courses that were between sessions.
When will coach education courses resume?
At this point in time all our courses starting up to and including 4th July will not be going ahead and are postponed. We are actively monitoring the guidance of the Government and The FA. When we receive notification from FA Learning that courses can resume, we will make an announcement.
Will my club lose their allocated Level 1 bursaries?
Level 1 bursaries will be put on hold for now and when Coaching Courses recommence, they will be reactivated. Please speak with your Football Development Officer to show your interest in maintaining these.
Can I still do my Online Safeguarding Children Workshop and Online Safeguarding for Committee Members course?
Yes, you can still access these courses: Please see the safeguarding page on Middlesexfa.com for the online courses FAQs. Any problems contact our Designated Safeguarding Officer Sharon Porter on email@example.com
Can I still access the Whole Game System?
Yes, and Middlesex FA strongly encourage that all clubs take this time to go through Club Administration especially Player Registration, even if their League is not using the system this season. Clubs can add players, detach and amend their players listed so that it shows the most up to date information. Any questions, please direct to firstname.lastname@example.org