FA confirm 'non-elite' football will be suspended during national lockdown
The inevitable has now been confirmed by the Football Association
The Football Association have confirmed that 'non-elite' football will be suspended between Thursday (November 5) and Wednesday, December 2 due to the new national Covid-19 restrictions.
It means all fixtures and training for non-League clubs from Steps 3 to 6 and the regional National League System feeder leagues will be paused.
Matches in the Vanarama National League North and South and the levels above will continue behind closed doors while all ties in the FA Cup first round proper this weekend will go ahead as planned.
In a statement released today, the FA said: "As a result of the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions, and subject to Members of Parliament voting tomorrow (Wednesday) and the publication of bespoke guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period:
• All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
• All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
• All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
• All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
• All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;
• All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.
"Our aim is to ensure that the 2020-21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations (CFAs) to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required.
"The UK Government has confirmed that school sport can continue as an exemption during this period.
"In addition, the UK Government has confirmed that all Emirates FA Cup First Round fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend.
"The 10 ‘non-elite’ clubs that remain in the competition will be able to play their fixtures under ‘elite’ protocols. In line with the new national Covid-19 restrictions, these ‘non-elite’ teams are only permitted to train together until Wednesday, November 4.
"Further updates on fixtures and dates for the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will follow in due course.
"Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and we would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions.
"However, health and well-being remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions during this period.
"We remain in dialogue with the DCMS, leagues, competitions and CFAs and will provide further clarification for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the debate in the House of Commons tomorrow."