Updated guidance for Grassroots football

Following the First Minister’s update on 4 January 2021 and subsequent extended Level 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions, the Scottish FA is committed to supporting the Scottish Government in tackling the spread of the virus.

Scottish Government and sportscotland have provided updated guidance which means that all non-contact activity in groups 12-years and above must stop. At this time, we would encourage everyone to maintain daily physical activity within their own household or by following the Scottish Government ‘meeting others outdoors’ guidance.

The Scottish Government and sportscotland have also provided further guidance regarding children under the age of 12 who are permitted to participate in non-contact group activity with full Level 4 guidance here.

Clubs are encouraged to consult with parents, carers and players under the age of 12 and agree whether they should continue to participate in non-contact group activity in line with the new guidance, or to pause activity for the time being.

For those who decide not to continue with non-contact group activity, we continue to encourage clubs, teams and coaches to remain in contact with players and promote practice and activity to take place at home through the use of technology. Further information on activities for all ages can be found at: https://www.scottishfa.co.uk/football-development/activity-hub/physical-activities/

The Scottish FA understand the importance of physical activity and in some circumstances it may be deemed vital, including supporting vulnerable groups or providing additional support to key workers. In such cases, we would urge everyone to consider the following guidance:

  • Children under 12-years old and coaches should avoid any unnecessary travel – for further information on the Level 4 restrictions please see here.
  • All activity must be organised within your own Local Authority area
  • All activity must take place outdoors
  • All activity must be arranged to take place in an appropriate risk assessed venue
  • All activity must only be arranged by Scottish FA registered clubs (those clubs registered with an appropriate Affiliated National Association)
  • All activity must be non-contact and any activity must ensure physical distancing is in place at all times before, during and after activity takes place
  • It is recommended that activity is limited to once a week and for a maximum of 45 minutes
  • All group activity must consist of a maximum of 15 players and 2 appropriated PVG officials maximum (the 2 PVG officials must contain a COVID Officer, First Aider, and an appropriately qualified coach) per 1/3 of a pitch
  • Parents/carers are reminded that spectating is not permitted at any time
  • At no stage should groups mix and appropriate one way systems should be in place at your respective facility
  • Please ensure that hygiene measures are implemented at all times

If you do not live on mainland Scotland you can follow the guidance for your area here.

You can find the current Protection Level for each Scottish local authority area here.

We remind everyone involved in the game that the decision to continue with training activity in Level 4 areas will be challenging and influenced by many factors including facility access and availability (including toilet access) which may become problematic in these areas. Each club should risk assess the situation and make decisions that are right for the club and the participants with health and safety at the heart of this process.

Clubs that do continue with activity are asked to ensure that all measures are taken to maintain physical distancing at all times. Where possible please continue to stay in touch with your members and players during this difficult period. A reminder that there is further support, information and activities you can share within the Return to Football Hub.

Professional permitted – There are a number of professional exemptions for matches, training and travel for Levels 0-4. Please contact your relevant league association for further information.

The Scottish FA will continue to review and inform in line with updates from the Scottish Government.

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