Covid 19 Update: 30 December

Sarah Wood

Further to the government’s announcement on Saturday 19 December and subsequent statements on Wednesday 23 December and Wednesday 30 December with regards to the introduction of Tier 4 areas and the latest information on COVID-19, we have issued the following update.

Football for adult participants across ‘non-elite’ football in Tier 4 areas is not permitted, including all training and fixtures. This immediate advice in place from 20 December applies to the following aspects of ‘non-elite’ football in England in Tier 4 areas:

- Steps three to six of the National League System (NLS)
- Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid
- Regional NLS feeder leagues
- Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite guidance)
- Indoor and outdoor adult grassroots football
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup (which is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition)

The government’s Tier 4 guidance states organised outdoor sport for under-18s and disabled people will be allowed, while there are exemptions for any FA Girls' Regional Talent Clubs that have been individually approved to follow elite protocols.

The government’s guidelines on travel between tiers should be adhered to. These players cannot move in or out of Tier 4 or travel between Tier 4 areas, as listed by the government here, to train or play.

The government’s Tier 4 guidance confirms that elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) are able to compete and train.

It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers in Tiers 1 to 3 (and permitted football in Tier 4) continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA. Any incidents of non-compliance will be reported to the local County Football Association.

We have also published specific updates on the Vitality Women's FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase, while guidance for Tiers 1, 2 and 3 can be found here.

If there are any further updates from government we will communicate these in due course. 

FAQs for Under 18 and Disability Football in Tier 4 Areas

Can I travel from one Tier 4 area to another?

You should not travel from one Tier 4 area to another, this would mean that if you were to live in one of our neighbouring County's (Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire) that you should not be moving into a South Yorkshire area for football. This is the case for both training and matches.

My club trains and plays in North East Derbyshire, but plays in a Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA sanctioned league can we still play?

As above you cannot travel outside of your Tier 4 area, this does mean that you would not be able to play any games that were against teams that do not fall within your tiered area. You are not able to play a team from a different Tier 4 area.

If my club has multiple match/training venues that may cross the Tier areas can I still participate? 

As above you will only be able to play or train at the venues that sit within your tiered area. You will not be able to train or play in other tier 4 areas.  

Can we continue to play friendlies?  

Friendlies can be played if Government guidance is followed. You can only play a team within the same areas as you, and all participants are also from the same Tier 4 area including players and parents. Try to keep friendlies local. 

Is there any restriction on how far I can travel within a Tier 4 area?  

No, there is no limit on distance, but we would recommend that travelling distance is kept to a minimum where possible. Government guidance states that If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (e.g. for work or education purposes). If you need to travel you should stay local, avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall. 

As a parent / coach acting in a safeguarding capacity can I travel across tiers to supervise my team/child?

Yes, Adults such as coaches and safeguarding officers etc. will be exempt from the travel rules. 

An example of this would be a parent who shares custody of a child with someone that they do not live with, this adult would be able to travel across Tier 4 areas to fulfil their safeguarding obligations to their child, however this child would not be exempt from travelling between separate Tier 4 areas. Alternatively, if a coach lives outside of South Yorkshire but coach a club in a Sheffield they are exempt from the travel restriction to fulfill this role. e.g. A coach living in Dronfield would be able to travel into Sheffield to coach their team, but if they had a child that they lived with who played on this team, the child would not be exempt from the travel restrictions.