Following the news today that the UK Government approved the FA plan for the return of outdoor grassroots football the Board of Trustees met on Saturday 18th July to discuss how the club will implement the plan at Harborough Town.
The Board have agreed that a phased return to competitive football will be undertaken as detailed below
* Until 31 July – competitive training can take place with the overall group size (inclusive of coaches) being limited to 30 people;
* From August – Competitive matches to begin, for example pre-season fixtures, festivals and small sided football competitions; The grass pitches will be available for matches from Saturday 15th August 2020.
* From September – Grassroots leagues, National League System Leagues and FA Competitions will commence.
The FA have advised that a return to competitive football should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completed the necessary risk assessments and comprehensive plans are in place.
This requirement is fully embraced by Harborough Town FC and much of this work has already been undertaken by the club.
Members are asked to note the key points to consider from The FA’s guidelines which are listed for ease below: and all members are requested to fully comply at all times with these requirements and any additional club requirements which have been approved by the Board of Trustees.
* Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend;
* Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19;
* Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches;
* Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play;
* Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session;
* Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play;
* Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training;
* Goal celebrations should be avoided;
* Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training;
* Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities; The club will be issuing further guidance on the use of changing rooms and showers in due course, until such time changing rooms will remain closed.
* Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle
* The club will keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace;
The Board of Trustees are also pleased to confirm that the club will return to being fully operational from Saturday 1st August with the members bar and catering being open.
Members are asked to observe the social distancing requirements that will be in place which will include a one way system of entering and exiting the clubhouse, and to comply with the NHS Track and Trace requirements members using the members bar will be asked to supply their name and contact number.
The Board of Trustees would ask members to also note the following:
a. further guidance will be made available to members about the protocols in respect of the club opening up
b. any member who resides within any local lockdown area MUST refrain from attending the club during that period of lockdown
c. The board of trustees are still working through logistics of certain aspects (disinfecting equipment etc) and therefore any further guidance will be advised in line with these protocols
d. Members are asked to note that everyone entering club premises including pitches will have to have their temperature taken for their own and others safety.
e. During this period as the club begins to fully open and to assist with the additional responsibilities of being covid 19 compliant siblings of players and coaches must be accompanied by an adult at all times and not left unaccompanied in the clubhouse or pitches.
I am sure everyone connected with the club will be delighted that the club will now be fully open and that we are able to return to competitive football. For this to happen the club is having to introduce many new measures to be fully compliant which will result in the club having more members of our bar and catering staff working than would normally be expected.
Please be understanding and support our staff during this time they will be working hard to make sure your visit to the club is an enjoyable but above all a safe one.
The priority of the Board is to provide a safe environment for all visitors to the club and it is the responsibility of all members and users to comply with the requirements of the club at all times so that together we can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
The Board will be issuing further updates to keep members informed as the clubs continues to edge towards being fully operational.
Chairman of Trustees
Harborough Town Community Trust
Harborough Town Community Football Ground