Safe return to competitive football during COVID 19:
We are awaiting further information and guidance from Worcester City, but as we begin our first competitive game next week I feel it is important we consider how we should safeguard ourselves in the current climate. We will continue to monitor the status of the coronavirus and follow the government and the FA guidance. The risk is still very real and we are all still vulnerable and therefore we must be sensible regarding our approach and the overall safety of everyone is of paramount importance.
The expectation is additional hygiene protocols are put in place, regular hand and sanitizing of equipment before, during (where possible) and after training and games. Players should also maintain social distancing before, after and in training when they are able. Please see the latest guidance issued from the FA on 17th July 2020 - https://www.thefa.com/news/2020/jul/17/grassroots-guidance-for-competitive-football-restart-in-england-170720
It is key that the measures we put in place are adhered to for the safety of the players, coaches, parents and extended families.
Consent for your child to participate in football training and matches is legally required. I appreciate that we have been training for a number of weeks now, but we feel we need a consistent policy in place. To give consent please read this letter and the attached guidelines to ensure you are happy with your child to continue participating in contact training and competitive football matches.
If you agree, please respond on our new WhatsApp group by replying with “I consent for my child (insert name) to take part.” Signed by (insert parents name). This confirms that you have read and understood the activities being offered and are happy with the measures we have put in place to manage risks (including Covid-19) in line with Government guidance.
Measures to be followed and adhered to:
Self-checks before attending:
If anyone in your household has any symptoms, please ensure you do not attend any group meetings and refrain from attending training and or matches for 14 days.
Please see the below for the main symptoms as per the NHS website, if you or your child have any of these symptoms, you should follow NHS guidelines.
• High temperature –this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
• New, continuous cough –this means coughing a lot for more than an hour or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
• Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste –this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
• Players should arrive at training or games changed for the match/session.
• Group huddles must be avoided
• Limited sharing of equipment –players should bring their own clearly labelled drinks bottle, hand sanitiser and sun cream or appropriate medication if required.
• Players should use their own ball in training drills (as we will now keep hold of all footballs they will be regularly sanitized). During matches and training matches where a single ball is used, handling should be limited and the ball should be sanitised ahead of, during (where possible) and after play.
• Social distancing (2 metres where possible) should be maintained before and after competitive drills/games –players and coaches should maintain a social distance where possible between all members of the group during competitive match play.
• Set pieces (corners/free kicks) should be taken quickly to avoid excessive time in close proximity (marking players).
• Players and parents are responsible for their own equipment and should keep this clean ahead of training sessions.
• Players and coaches should ensure they wash their hands ahead of the session and as soon as they arrive home following training. Please provide children with hand sanitiser to keep in their kit bag and use as and when instructed. There will be breaks in training and matches to sanitise hands and equipment (including goalkeeper gloves) where possible.
Attendance by spectators:
• A register of attendance will be kept for 21 days post session in-line with the Government Recreational Team Sport Framework and collected/processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and in line with GDPR principles. It should be used only for the purpose of NHS test and trace.
• Parents should remain at training and matches in the event an injury occurs to one of the players. Injuries should be dealt with by their own parents (when instructed to by the coaches) to ensure social distancing is maintained, however the coaches will be able to provide advice or guidance in the event of an injury. An area will be marked out by the coaches, which parents should remain behind and maintain social distancing with other parents.
• If parents do enter the training area to attend to their children, social distancing must be maintained with all other participants.
• As per FA guidance parents should still social distance whilst watching sessions and matches.
• Excessive shouting should be avoided as there is an additional risk of infection in close proximity situations where people are shouting or conversing loudly. This particularly applies indoors (e.g. inside clubhouses) and when face to face.
• Transport to and from the game should be in line with government recommendations. Participants should walk or cycle if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle. If participants do have to travel with people outside their household or support bubble they should try to: Share the transport with the same people each time, keep to small groups of people at any one time, open windows for ventilation, face away from each other, clean the car between journeys using standard cleaning products –including door handles and other areas that people may touch and ask the driver and all passengers to wear a face covering.
Player code of conduct:
• Before, during breaks in play and after the match, social distancing should be observed
• Absolutely no chewing gum is allowed during any meeting up of players, before, during or after the match.
• No spitting at any time
• If you need to sneeze or cough, it should be done into a tissue, which is immediately disposed of, or into the upper sleeve of your shirt.
• Throw-ins, corners and free kicks should be taken promptly with little or no pause in the game
• During substitutions players must leave the pitch promptly avoiding contact with the player replacing them and continue to socially distance on the side lines.
• Ball should be returned to opposition by foot (including spectators)
• Hand sanitiser should be used at specific breaks in play or when instructed by the referee
• Player huddles before, during and after the game must be avoided including after a goal is scored
• Players will show respect to the opposition at the end of the game as instructed by the coach (to avoid the usual handshakes).
• Excessive shouting should be avoided (players, coaches and spectators)
• Parents must discuss the relevant sections with their children (in particular game play rules, goal celebrations and when players are subbed)
We will continue to monitor the guidelines from the FA and Government. Based on this guidance we will constantly review our protocols, and should we need to implement or make changes to safety measures we will communicate a revised document as soon as possible. I am hoping that Worcester City will be sending out their own protocols for us to follow in due course.
I appreciate that much of this is common sense, but we feel it is important to have something written down that we can all work within and consent to. If you wish to raise any questions about this information or have any further enquiries, please don’t hesitate to ask.
We are very much looking forward to the new season and thank you all for your continued support.
Yours in football,
Laurence and Luke.