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The FA confirms return of limited crowds at Steps 3-6 of Non-League

Non-League FA Football Association National League

The Football Association 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 3-6 and tiers 3-4 respectively.

Football’s governing body has worked continuously alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) and leagues to submit detailed proposals for the return of spectators at these levels to the Government.

Steps 1 and 2 of the NLS fall under the ‘elite sport guidance’ and are awaiting further information on when they can permit crowds.

The DCMS has now clarified its guidance on the return to recreational team sport and clubs at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and tiers 3-4 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 the guidelines for grassroots football.

All clubs at Steps 3-6 of the NLS and tiers 3-4 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 3-6of 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 the updated guidelines
  • 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 Government’s guidelines and will be amended accordingly as required.

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