Joint League Statement regarding Return to Play

Monday, 5th April 2021 (Posted by Sharron)

Return to Play – Guidance for the return of grassroots football from 29th March

Whilst we are delighted that grassroots football has been allowed to return as part of the government roadmap, we feel that it is important for us all to remember that football has only been allowed to return based on the fact that it provides a number of perceived benefits, including a positive impact on physical and mental health and well-being.  These positives, alongside the mitigation that participation within football is seen as being ‘low risk’ in terms of transmission and that by following some basic guidance around additional hygiene, reducing gathering and increasing social distance we can further reduce the known risks of transmission from off field behaviours, means that the game will return sooner than a lot of other sectors.  

It is therefore imperative that everyone involved in grassroots football continues to be seen to follow the government restrictions and FA guidance so as not to jeopardise or undermine the case for safe sport to take place.  

Last week the government and The FA announced a phased approach for the return of football that will see restrictions being gradually eased so long the number of cases etc. continues to fall.   

Phase 1 will run from 29th March to at least the 11th April.   

The main areas of the guidance remain the same and include:  

  • Social distancing wherever possible for players, and coaches before during and immediately after training and/or matches  
  • Robust hygiene standards as per risk assessments but including the wearing of masks in toilet blocks etc. 
  • Effective registering of attendees primarily via the NHS Test and Trace QR code system 
  • Safeguarding including consent and coaching ratios remain imperative in all activities

However, in addition to the existing guidance for football that was in place prior to the last lockdown, that we have become used to applying this season, The FA have highlighted some key areas during this initial stage.  This includes the following, which should be updated and reflected within each club’s risk assessment:  

  • Travel – Participants may travel to games but must follow the governments guidance on safer travel which, at present, has not been updated and so remains that you can only travel with a member(s) of your household or support bubble.  This is regularly reviewed and so we ask you make sure you keep up to date with the latest information.  
  • Changing Rooms – Cannot be used as part of step one of the roadmap (unless for an emergency or disabled participants/people).  Toilets can be open for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training/matches.  The FA continue to liaise with the government over this and it is hoped that this may be eased at step 2.  
  • Spectators - no spectators are allowed at grassroots football as part of step one.  The FA continues to work with the government around this and this may change for Step 2.  
  • Parent/Carer – Where clubs and facilities can accommodate this safely one parent/carer per youth player is permitted, and in our opinion, based on safeguarding and first aid, should be strongly encouraged, to be present at football activities.  If in attendance, then they must always adhere to relevant Covid-19 guidance including social distancing. The CFA and all 3 youth leagues are also strongly recommending and requesting that all parents/carers observing games must, unless exempt for medical reasons, where a face mask or covering while observing training and/or matches.  
  • Indoor football is currently not allowed.   

Further more detailed guidance,  including safeguarding and first aid considerations, can be found at and we asked that this is shared with all coaches, parents, club officials etc.  

If people have any further questions, then please feel free to contact the CFA at  

Finally, we need to remember how lucky we are that football has returned.  So, let’s protect it, by ensuring that we follow the guidance, but most importantly let’s enjoy it and make sure others do to, by playing our part in making the environment a positive one.  In the grand schemes of this year the result, the performance, that decision, are all secondary to the fact that the game is back. 

On behalf of the CGLYFL Management Committee