The Toolstation Western League Board would like to thank the hard-working volunteers who at times have a thankless task for their valued contribution to their clubs, during these unprecedented circumstances and acknowledges that we are all experiencing a learning process. It is recognised that clubs have worked extremely hard to adapt their facilities in line with Government and FA guidelines. If you need any additional advice; please contact George McCaffery, the TWL COVID Coordinator.
Clubs are diverse and so one size will not fit all when it comes to complying with guidelines and therefore the Board are unable to give specific instructions. However, we do have the same aim to keep playing football within the TWL region. Remember if we fail to effectively manage this situation there is the potential for the LOCAL AUTHORITY or POLICE to step in and take action.
The information below is intended to help clubs understand and to follow the guidelines.
With the change or regulations, it is important that you review the Clubs Risk Assessment and amend as required; but it must include the use of the NHS Track and Trace QR code and maintain a manual list of personal details, for 21 days, of those unable to use the QR code.
Ensure that spectators are continuously reminded to maintain social distancing whilst at the ground; such as effective signage and PA announcements at regular intervals. In the absence of a PA, the stewards could convey the message.
Provide regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards. Using signs to increase awareness of good hand washing technique and avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into your arm. Clubs may wish to use their social media communication channels to encourage spectators to follow the guidance, reminding them we are all in this together.
Inform visiting clubs of policies or procedures which will be in place and those clubs must ensure all personnel travelling to the away game receive this information and that they adhere to them.
Identify their intentions to implement any COVID-19 screening measures for spectators attending fixtures. If so, what are these measures and how will they be implemented.
What decision the club has made regarding its refreshment facilities for spectators.
What medical provisions the club has in place if spectators fall ill and how this can be provided in accordance with current government guidance.
Stewards should be clearly identifiable and briefed by the COVID Officer as to their role and responsibilities.
Volunteers have a vital role to play in helping to ensure the safe return to playing football as our clubs are often entirely dependent on volunteers giving their time to enable the club to deliver football and operate safely.
Ensuring volunteers are willing and feel able to give their time in a safe environment is critical to the continuance of football. It is important that appropriate consideration is given to identify the practical steps that can be taken to ensure they feel supported, welcomed and most importantly ensure they can volunteer safely.
Ground and Playing Staff
It is most important that visiting clubs must respect and adhere to the arrangements of the host club.
Before and after the match, and in any breaks, all participants should practise social distancing, in line with government guidelines on two metres or ‘one metre plus’.
Substitutes and coaches must socially distance in the dugout, the technical areas have been extended to enable social distancing.
During warm-ups and cool-downs, participants should practise social distancing.
Changing rooms provide a greater risk of transmission and therefore it is important that social distancing is maintained in changing rooms and showers and that they are only used if essential and done so as quickly as possible. Clubs should factor staggering the use to minimise numbers. On a matchday, the home team must make provisions of priority access for the away team. Where able, clubs should seek alternative spaces for team meetings and observe social distancing, again, minimising numbers. For example, only the manager and starting 11, but if the 2-metre rule cannot be maintained, then you must cleanse hands before entering and when leaving and mask MUST be worn to reduce the risk. Indoor spaces need to have maximum ventilation as possible (such as opening windows and doors).
Players should not be in a group huddle prior to kick-off and should not group celebrate a goal being scored.
The sharing of equipment must be avoided where possible and must be regularly wiped down with appropriate cleaning equipment and cleaned thoroughly after every match and training session. Water bottles should not be shared.
Where equipment is shared ie electronic subs board, it must be cleaned before and after use or the user should wear gloves. During the half-time break, goal frames and corner flags should be cleaned.
The Physio should be reminded to wear a face covering and gloves when treating an injured player.
Participants should take their kit home to wash it themselves. Where kit absolutely has to be shared (ie last-minute stand-in players, shortage of kit, or an essential club function), each person handling it must sanitise their hands immediately after and appropriate cleaning arrangements for the kit must be made.
Spectators should remain socially distanced whilst attending matches and reminded that if they fail to do so they may be asked to leave the ground.
Spectator groups must be restricted to discrete six-person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance, ensuring space for officials, coaches and substitutes.
A spectator; aware of breaches of social distancing by other spectators should report this to the head steward. When the ball goes out of play the head steward should request for play to stop and arrange for an appropriate statement to made by the PA announcer. As previously stated, volunteer stewards should be comfortable in their role and not fear confrontation.
Safety is paramount and if social distancing is not possible then increased handwashing and the wearing of face mask becomes mandatory. Hospitality is at the discretion of each club who must inform the visiting club in advance of the arrangements.
Finally, the club needs to identify how it intends to monitor compliance with its risk assessment and action plan and the steps it intends to take if anyone is found to be breaching social distancing measures or increasing the risk of transmission.
The Club Chairman / Chairwoman and Secretary are accountable for their club, and are expected to report issues; please remember that by ignoring them you are accepting them.
Protect your club, protect the league so that we are in a position to complete what is and will be a challenging season.