Behind the goal at Ascot United. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

The full FA statement on ‘non elite’ sport restrictions

What's in store for the next month under new lockdown restrictions
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Behind the goal at Ascot United. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

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Football below the men’s Vanarama National League and FA Women’s Championship has been cancelled for November as part of the Government’s new lockdown which is due to run until Wednesday 2nd December.

In terms of what that means for Berkshire’s non-league and women’s football clubs, Reading FC, Reading FC Women, Maidenhead United, Slough Town and Hungerford Town are all able to continue playing matches behind closed doors, but for all other clubs, training and matches are not permitted.

There are still decisions to be made on various national FA Cup competitions but the weekend’s FA Cup First Round Proper games are due to take place.

The FA has today provided a statement regarding the current football season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The statement reads as follows:

The Football Association [The FA] has provided an update for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the UK Government’s announcement on new national Covid-19 restrictions that will be in place from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020.

As a result of the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions, and subject to Members of Parliament voting tomorrow [Wednesday 4 November 2020] and the publication of bespoke guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period:

· All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS]
· All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP]
· All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues
· All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League
· All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs
· All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football

The FA’s aim is to ensure that the 2020/21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations [CFAs] to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required.

The UK Government has confirmed that school sport can continue as an exemption during this period.

In addition, the UK Government has confirmed that all Emirates FA Cup First Round fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend between Friday 6 and Monday 9 November 2020. The ten ‘non-elite’ clubs that remain in the competition will be able to play their fixtures under ‘elite’ protocols. In line with the new national Covid-19 restrictions, these ‘non-elite’ teams are only permitted to train together until Wednesday 4 November 2020.

Further updates on fixtures and dates for the 2020/21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, The FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will follow in due course.

Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and The FA would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions. However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions during this period.

The FA remains in dialogue with the DCMS, leagues, competitions and CFAs and will provide further clarification for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the debate in the House of Commons tomorrow.

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