FA releases guidance for phased return of fans to non-league games
Fans of non-league football clubs at Step 3 and below, including Scarborough Athletic, Bridlington Town and Whitby Town, have been given the green light by the FA to attend their teams' games again.
The FA confirmed that, from Saturday August 22 until August 30, spectators are permitted to attend fixtures at steps 3-6, providing they do not exceed 15% of the minimum ground grading capacity, from August 31 that increases to 30%.
The FA stated in this afternoon's release: "We have today issued updated guidelines for the National League System (NLS) and Women’s Football Pyramid (WFP) that include a phased and limited return of spectators for clubs at steps three to six and tiers three to four respectively.
"We have worked continuously alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) and leagues to submit detailed proposals for a phased and limited return of spectators at these levels to the UK Government.
"The DCMS has now clarified its guidance on the return to recreational team sport and clubs at steps three to six of the NLS and tiers three to four of the WFP are permitted to accommodate a phased and limited return of spectators to fixtures. However, they must follow the UK Government’s guidance in relation to COVID-19 and The FA’s updated guidelines for the NLS or WFP respectively.
"In addition, regional NLS feeder league clubs and clubs at tiers five to six of the WFP are permitted to accommodate socially-distanced spectators in line with our guidelines for grassroots football.
"All clubs at steps three to six of the NLS and tiers three to four of the WFP are required to have a designated COVID-19 officer; complete and publish bespoke risk assessments and action plans; and arrange support for Track and Trace efforts before implementing the following:
"Stage one: From 22 August 2020 to 30 August 2020, spectators are permitted to attend fixtures at steps three to six of the NLS and tiers three to four of the WFP, providing that their number does not exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels or respective figures set out within our updated guideline
"If a club at these levels does not play any fixtures during this period, it must have played at least one pre-season or competitive fixture in accordance with its respective level of spectators before moving on to stage two
"Stage two: From 31 August 2020, clubs at steps three to six of the NLS and tiers three to four of the WFP will be permitted to allow spectators to attend fixtures provided that their number does not exceed 30 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at their level or the respective figures set out within our updated guidelines. However, they must be satisfied that they have been able to comply with the Government’s guidance on the return to recreational team sport and our updated guidelines
"The phased and limited return of spectators at these levels will be kept under constant review in line with the UK Government’s guidelines and will be amended accordingly as required."