Plan and Prepare
Permitted Grassroots Football Activity
These guidelines apply to Scotland only, and have been produced in line with the government guidance on public spaces, outdoor activity and exercise published on 18 June 2020, which can be viewed at: Scottish Government: Exercise & Activity Guidance
On the 21 May 2020, the Scottish Government published Scotland’s COVID-19 route map through and out of the crisis, which sets out the order in which it plans to relax restrictions. Based on our discussions with Scottish Government/sportscotland and following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Scottish FA has developed a set of practical guidelines for clubs and participants to follow so that football activity can happen in Scotland during lockdown, where the local environment allows.
These guidelines apply so that football can happen in a way that is in line with Scottish Government advice and helps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition to the updated information on permitted activity during phase two the Scottish FA will begin to work with and support clubs and groups on ‘Planning and Preparing’ for phase three of the Scottish Government Route Map, when we expect facilities to start to open. This will include providing more detailed resources, templates and advice around what clubs can plan for and how to plan for it. Any planning will be predicated on what restrictions are lifted in phase three and in line with timelines set out by the Scottish Government.
In line with the Scottish Government Guidelines updated on 18 June, the Scottish FA continue to encourage only informal football activity to take place as follows:
- Playing football individually e.g. practice of individual skills or fitness activities.
- Playing football with your family or other people living in your household.
- Football activity with up to a maximum of 8 individuals from three households; physical distancing and hygiene guidelines must be followed while undertaking all forms of physical activity.
- Coaching an adult player (over the age of 18) one to one; physical distancing and hygiene guidelines must be followed while undertaking all forms of physical activity.
- Football activity involving children should continue to follow all child wellbeing guidelines.
All football activities with children must be planned to involve a minimum of two adults in line with Scottish Football’s Child Wellbeing and Protection Policy.
Under the Scottish Government’s route map and in line with Scottish Football’s Child Wellbeing and Protection Policy, the following must be adhered to when any football activity is undertaken with children:
- All coaches/staff/volunteers involved in any activity must have undertaken ‘safe’ recruitment procedure and have went through the PVG membership scheme via the relevant National Affiliated Association.
- Coaches/staff/volunteers involved in any football activity can only coach within their own club setting with players registered to that organisation.
- All coaches/staff/volunteers undertake relevant training and agree to a Code of Conduct.
- All activities must be fully risk assessed in advance with the relevant club insurance in place.
- The activity should take place outdoors, for example in a large garden or public park.
- Physical distancing (of 2m) between the three households must be adhered to .
- The adult from the child’s household must have designated responsibility for any first aid the child requires.
Health & Hygiene
- If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or upper sleeve. Dispose of your tissue into an appropriate bin supplied at the venue or place in a plastic bag and take home. Wash your hands afterwards for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face and ensure to clean your hands with at least 60% alcohol gel when you finish participating.
- People who are symptomatic should self-isolate for 7 days and household members for 14 days as per NHS guidance. No one who is self-isolating should attend an outdoor sports facility/activity.
- IMPORTANT: Do not leave your home to undertake exercise or outdoor activity if Scottish Government advice means you should stay at home because you or someone you live with has or has had symptoms of COVID-19.
- People who are shielding are permitted to undertake activities providing strict physical distancing is adhered to.
- Travel restrictions outlined by the Scottish Government should always be adhered to. Further information is available at; Travel & Meeting Others Outdoors.
- At all times, participants should adhere to the Scottish Government’s physical distancing guidelines of staying at least 2m away from others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before leaving home to go to the facility/venue (or use an alcohol gel if washing hands is not possible). Information on hand hygiene is available at: Health Protection Scotland: Hand hygiene techniques.
- Be aware guidance can change and restrictions may be reintroduced – ensure you have checked the latest version of guidelines on the Scottish FA website’s Return To Football Hub.
- Where possible take your own equipment with you and do not share equipment such as footballs, water bottles, cones, bibs etc.
- Only take the minimum amount of equipment that you need to participate.
- Clean and wipe down your equipment, including water bottles before and after use.
- Bring a full water bottle, and do not share food or drink with others.
- Ensure you take all personal belongings and equipment with you at the end of the activity and do not leave anything at the venue/facility.
- Hand sanitiser should be at least 60% alcohol based and detergent wipes appropriate for the surface they are being used on. Cleaning products should conform to EN14476 standards. Note: In basic language EN14476 is Milton.
- A maximum of 8 individuals from three households can take part in activity together. Scottish Government guidance on physical distancing and maximum numbers of households must be adhered to at all time.
- Always stay at least two metres away from other participants including during participation, when taking breaks and before and after participation.
- Do not make physical contact with other participants (such as shaking hands or high five).
- Do not congregate with others and adhere to physical distancing rules. No extra-curricular or social activity should take place
- The focus during phase two is on continuing to encourage informal football activity as set out previously as well as ‘Planning and Preparing’ for phase three and any guidelines that will be updated by the Scottish Government. At this time due to physical distancing measures matches are not permitted.
- Clubs and participants should be aware that the easing of restrictions does not mean that all facilities/venues will open immediately. Owners and operators will require time to consider all the implications of opening facilities/venues and put plans in place to re-engage staff and to set up operations that ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. This is a difficult time for everyone so please be patient.
Professor Jason Leitch Q&A
Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director for the Scottish Government, gives an update about the return of grassroots football in line with Phase Two of lockdown restrictions being eased.