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The return of grassroots football and how to stay safe

how to stay safe

The government’s roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions have left many of us feeling truly hopeful for the first time in over a year and, for those of us that love football and have sorely missed playing, this is all the more true. 

As of Monday 29th March, outdoor organised sport has officially recommenced and the new challenge faced by organisers, officials and players is learning how to ensure their training sessions and football matches are conducted in the safest possible manner. There are many rules and regulations to follow which, given the severity of the situation, are entirely justified and have been welcomed by football fanatics all over the country. The only thing left to do now is learn them, implement them, and get back to doing what we love.

Whether you’re an official organiser looking to double check everything is in place to protect staff and players during those initial training sessions or are a player wondering what changes to expect, read on to learn more about how to make grassroots football safer this season.

Please keep in mind - this loosening of restrictions is limited to organised sport only, meaning any sporting practice or event formally organised by an official club, qualified football instructor or other official governing body who is held to specific safety standards. Outside of these organised sporting activities, there are still ways to participate in football training alone, simply read our ‘How to practice football at home alone’ blog for some inspiration.

FA and Governmental safety measures for making grassroots football COVID safe

In order to ensure the safety and health of all involved with getting grassroots football back up and running, the Government and FA have put together a complete list of rules and regulations that are to be followed. Below, we have created a summary of each adaption to play made for COVID to help you get all the information you need.

Before and after football matches

Current COVID-19 guidance must be followed in the run up to and immediately after any organised sporting event. This means that players must not interact outside of the current ‘rule of 6’ regulations. These guidelines also remain in place during breaks in play, with players, staff and family members remaining in separate groups of up to 6 people.

Reduce contact where possible

In order to reduce the risks involved with being in close contact with others, gameplay and training sessions should be adapted wherever possible to limit close contact. For matches, this would include not touching during celebrations and limiting proximity in-game. Similarly, for training sessions, switching training drills to those that do not require close contact is necessary.

Usage of indoor sporting facilities

Indoor sporting facilities are not allowed to be open and the current regulation changes (29th March) relate only to outdoor organised sport. There are exceptions to this rule, which include organised sports for people with disabilities and children in schools, but most cases only allow organised sports to take place in outside spaces. 

Changing facilities and restrooms

Under current regulations, changing rooms are to remain closed to everyone, except for those with disabilities. Restrooms are allowed to remain open during play and training, with an additional buffer of 30 minutes before and after. During usage, all hygiene measures should be taken to reduce risks.

Spectator limitations

Until regulations open up further, organised outdoor football is not permitted to have any spectators. Exceptions to this rule include carers of players with disabilities and parents and guardians of players under the age of 18, though there should be only one adult per child. It should also be noted that interaction between spectators is not allowed and all should disperse to follow regulations as soon as the match is finished.

Travelling recommendations

As travel remains unadvisable under government restrictions, it is recommended that those participating in outdoor organised sports travel sensibly, limiting their distances wherever possible and only travelling when it is safe to do so.

Additional guidelines for grassroots football COVID safety

While we’ve seen professional football teams adopt a bubble in order to continue training and playing together in the safest way possible, this often isn’t feasible for grassroots football teams. This being said, however, it is still important to show your teammates and any staff the respect they deserve by following all guidelines. This entails observing current rules and reporting any symptoms or cases to the team so they can react accordingly. Should you suffer any covid-like symptoms, it also goes without saying that self-isolation is required.

Get back into football with Avec Sport

Finally it’s time to get back to our beloved sport. This is something that many of us rely on not only for physical exercise but also as a way to boost our mental health and having access to football again is amazing.

Ready to get back into training? At Avec Sport, we have a wide range of football kits, training wear and sporting equipment that will help you prepare for stepping on the pitch again. Browse the collections online and get back into football safely.

 

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