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This document is intended as a supplement to the Points to Consider (27th August, 2020) issued by the Testway Youth Football League. No changes have been made to the text of that document but this supplement recognises the latest changes to Government advice and regulations announced on 22nd September.
Please ensure that your club is aware of the latest advice circulated by the FA
(forwarded by the TYFL Secretary) to be aware of the launch of the NHS Track & Trace App and the requirement to display the NHS QR poster. Noncompliance may result in the club being fined.
We are now two weeks into the season, and the challenges of safely running Youth football this year have become quite evident, particularly in the light of the enhanced restrictions. Thankfully, there is nothing in these latest changes which directly affect outdoor grass roots football. However, a number of instances have already arisen where team members or coaches have displayed suspected COVID-19 symptoms and have been tested for the virus. A number of positive tests or suspected cases have been recorded which has resulted in matches being postponed.
What should clubs do when a player or coach (or parent) displays symptoms of COVID-19 ?
• If a team member or coach is suspected of having symptoms of COVID19 they should self-isolate and request a test. This is a Government requirement. The individual (child or adult) is required to self-isolate until the result of the test is available.
• It may be necessary for members of their household to self-isolate also, but at this stage there is no requirement for any other person to selfisolate unless a particular risk through contact is recognised.
• The League suggests that under these circumstances, the club may notify teams it has recently played, e.g. within the last 72 hours, or teams they are scheduled to play in the next 14 days, of the fact that the club has persons who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms and are awaiting the results of a test. They may wish to take their own action.
• It is likely that under these circumstances, postponement of pending fixtures will be necessary. Please contact the League if you are in any doubt.
What do we do if the result of the COVID-19 test is POSITIVE ?
• If the result of the test of a player or coach is POSITIVE, those persons are required by Government regulation to self-isolate for at least 10 days. Those who are considered to have been in close contact with any individual player, coach, referee or parent, are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The difficulty for clubs is to understand who has been in ‘close contact’. In the case of a positive test it is anticipated that the Track & Trace system or the NHS App should identify contacts, however, for the sake of prudence a club affected in this way should notify their opponents from recent matches and those scheduled to be played in the coming 14 days. Those contacted must then make their own decisions as how a team and other club members should be notified and act. Those who may have been directly contacted by Track & Trace who will receive instructions individually.
PLEASE NOTE, there is concern of telephone scams. A call received from Track & Trace will always be from a single telephone source, 0300 0135 000.
THE LEAGUE SHOULD ALSO BE NOTIFIED (to the relevant LDR and the League Secretary).
What do we do in the event of a test result being NEGATIVE ?
• If the result of a COVID-19 test is NEGATIVE, then unless the individual is still feeling unwell, there is no further restriction on that person, nor their contact.
• It is suggested that the outcome of the test is notified to the League and to past and future opponents. A match may then go ahead provided that both teams are satisfied that the conditions are safe to do so.
• The affected club is requested to act responsibly, and ensure that, despite a negative result being reported, none of the those tested or in self-isolation continues to feel unwell. Such a scenario might result in a non-COVID infection displaying COVD-like symptoms being reported in contacts and those persons having to be tested.
• The importance of communication between teams and the League is paramount in maintaining a COVID-safe environment for matches to take place
How do recent changes to the COVID rules affect youth football ?
• The COVID rules have been tightened by the Government in recent weeks and with the announcements of 22nd September.
• There is nothing which has been introduced in the revised rules which prevents youth and grass roots football being played.
• However, with a generally tightened regime of guidance, it is even more important for clubs to adhere to Government guidelines and regulations, FA Guidance and individual club arrangements for safeguarding players, parents, spectators and officials.
• The NHS App is likely to become a useful tool for clubs.
• The changes have highlighted the need for clubs, players, referees and spectators to follow the three basic rules, of ‘Wash Your Hands’, Maintain Social Distancing, Wear a Mask. In the open air the need for a mask is advisable when in close proximity to others, but the most significant change with the recent changes is The Rule of Six.
• Rule of Six. The League’s Points to Consider document, already highlights the need to congregate in numbers of no more than six. The Government’s clarification of this must be followed, and with no more than two households forming that group. At venues for recreational sport, there will be significant numbers of parents and other spectators, and the League reminds spectators to follow the rules and exercise social distancing between the groups. The clubs are responsible for reminding spectators of the importance of following those the rules.
The League’s Points to Consider document of 27th August, has not been updated, these notes are considered supplementary to it.
• A number of matches have been observed by League officials, and generally, Spectator compliance with expectation has been good.
• Behaviour by players has been compliant.
• The League has noted that there has not always been a break in play for refreshment and sanitisation of hands and ball.
• Clubs are reminded of the basic requirements of the Government Regulation and FA Guidance.
• At the time of writing, COVID-19 cases are on the increase and leading to ‘local lockdowns’ being imposed. Clubs, players and spectators are reminded of the importance of continuing to adhere to all regulations, rules and guidance designed to provide a secure environment for the game to be played and to ensure that all of us can safely enjoy the game of football against the background of the Pandemic.
Finally, a sincere thanks to all clubs, for making the preparations for grass roots football for youngsters to continue to be played in a COVID-safe environment. It is increasingly important that our young people can continue to have a regular opportunity to play football. It’s up to all of us to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken that this may continue. Testway Youth Football League
24th September, 2020.
These notes represent advice from the Management Committee of the Testway Youth Football League (TYFL) as Points to Consider of ‘best practice’ for club officials, coaches, players, referees and spectators attending, or participating in, TYFL matches. These notes clarify the expectations the League has of its clubs in providing a safe environment for youth football. They may not be appropriate for all age groups of players, e.g. U-11 groups and younger, but are provided as additional guidance for adults (coaches and parents) in ensuring a COVID safe environment is provided for matches to take place, particularly at venues where there may be several matches taking place.
These Points to Consider do not replace instructions you will have been given by your club nor specific guidance that you may receive from your club’s COVID officer of expectations for match day behaviours applicable to both home and away fixtures.
FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT, GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS, FA GUIDANCE, GUIDANCE TO REFEREES AND LOCAL CLUB ARRANGEMENTS SHOULD TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER THIS DOCUMENT.
BEFORE THE MATCH
• Do not travel to a game if you, or your family, are showing any symptoms of COVID 19, are self-isolating or awaiting the result of a diagnostic test.
• Should the above be the case, inform your team manager or another official the club. The symptoms of COVID-19 may include,
• i) A temperature of greater than 38°C, ii) loss of sense of taste or smell, iii) a persistent cough, iv) listlessness or fatigue.
• Avoid, unless absolutely necessary, the use of public transport when travelling to a match.
• If travelling by car, it is advised that you travel only with members of your own household.
o It is suggested that family members from a second household may travel in the same vehicle, in which case the wearing of facemasks is recommended.
• Players should travel already changed and arrive ‘ready to play’. There will be no communal changing facilities available at venues.
• The home club will inform visiting opponents of local arrangements in place with respect to COVID-19 mitigation, e.g. car parking, toilet facilities (if available) and any necessary signage for pathing of spectators. This is particularly important at venues where multiple matches are taking place.
• If food or refreshments are to be provided by the club, arrangements must comply with all relevant Government regulations.
• You may wish to avoid cash transactions in payment.
• Park your vehicle safely with social distancing requirements in mind.
• Clubs are required to retain the details of all attendees at matches for 21 days for Track & Trace purposes. Occupants of a single vehicle, or of a family group, may nominate one adult to act as contact for that group.
• When greeting other match attendees, other families, etc., maintain social distancing.
• Players from each side should congregate separately in their teams adhering to local club instructions and maintaining social distancing.
• Spectators should avoid unnecessary congregating. Groups should be limited to a maximum of 6 persons. Maintain social distancing between groups.
• The Home Club should identify a suitable area for players and coaches to complete pre-match preparation. The FA advises participants should arrive ‘ready to play’, but football boots are most likely to be put on immediately before the game. In unfavourable weather take care to maintain social distancing if seeking shelter (e.g. use vehicle if possible).
• Teams should ‘warm up’ at opposite ends of the pitch.
• The referee will check player’s kit whilst maintaining social distancing.
• No items of personal kit should be shared by players of either team.
• Parents. If your child uses an inhaler, take particular care that it should be contained in a plastic bag and handed to the coach, or retained by a parent/accompanying adult.
• Players should have individual refreshments, e.g. a clearly labelled container for drinks. With the younger age groups particularly in mind, it may be better that they are retained by parents/accompanying adults.
• Coaches should pre-sanitise the footballs to be used in practice and the match. At least two match balls should be provided, and must be sanitised before the match. Footballs used in a pre-match warm-up must be pre-sanitised and collected and removed before the kick-off.
• Advise spectators to avoid handling the match ball if returning it to the game. Kicking the ball is acceptable.
• Clubs must ensure that there is adequate hand sanitiser available at the match venue and all individual matches which may take place there.
• Follow FA Guidance (Refer to FA Guidance “Re-starting Outdoor Competitive Grassroots Football – Summary”).
• There will be ‘drinks breaks’ during playing time. Coaches should ensure participants take the opportunity for hand sanitisation at this time.
• Some players may be sensitive to sanitising fluids. These participants may wear gloves during the match, but should sanitise them at the appropriate time.
• At half time, the match ball must be sanitised, or replaced with a sanitised ball.
• Any replacement ball used during the match should be sanitised before use.
• Spectator groups should be of no more than six adults, who may be from different households. Different groups should observe social distancing of a minimum of 1 metre (+) and clubs should ensure that these groups are dispersed along the touch line opposite to the coaches and behind the Respect barriers or marker cones.
• Spectators are not permitted to stand behind the goals.
NB. Clubs and spectators should note that FA Respect rules continue to apply to all Youth football matches.
• For matches played in stadium grounds, e.g. Cup Finals, spectators must observe the local instructions of the ground authority.
• Spectators are asked to be mindful of Government guidelines for behaviour in social groups. Cheering and encouragement of teams and individuals is natural, but excessive shouting and cheering, in addition to Respect guidelines, should also be restrained in recognition of Government COVID guidelines.
• It is important that spectators avoid dropping litter, but particularly ensure that that you check any area where you may have stood and remove any identifiable personal items.
• After the final whistle, players, coaches and officials should not shake hands with other participants, but may acknowledge and thank them whilst maintaining social distancing.
• Parents/accompanying adults and other spectators are requested to encourage players to collect any personal equipment and to promptly leave the playing area and return to their vehicle, observing social distancing.
• Coaches should gather up club equipment and complete any post-match administration with match officials and other coaches.
• The home club will arrange for nets to be removed and goal-posts to be dismantled, or if they are permanently fixed, or to sanitise the posts and cross-bars.
• Should any attendee (player or spectator) display symptoms of Coronavirus within 14 days of attendance at a match, the host club (or clubs) must be notified. The relevant club will then inform the national ‘Track & Trace’ authority of the notification. NB. This may have implications for all persons who attended the match.
• Any person affected in this way should also follow Government instructions on how to proceed.
Points to Consider at Youth Football Matches
Additional Guidance issued by the Management Committee of the Testway Youth Football League
• The club should make the League aware of the reporting of any such notification, but should not provide detail of the report.
Issue 1, issued by the Testway Youth Football League, 27th August, 2020
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