Grassroots football in England has been suspended as the country heads into a four-week lockdown from November 5 until December 2.
The Football Association, the governing body for football in England confirmed that English non-elite football fixtures and training would be suspended.
However, the first round of the FA Cup will be played as scheduled this weekend. The matches are being played behind closed doors and with COVID-19 guidelines in place.
The suspension affects Steps 3-6 of the National League System, Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid, the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues and The Barclays FA WSL Academy League. FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs as well as indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football will also be suspended.
“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 FA said in a media release on their website.
“However, health and wellbeing 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.”
Football facilities have to close during the lockdown to limit social contact.
An exemption has been granted by the UK Government for school sport.
“The Government has confirmed that while school sport can continue, no grassroots sport can take place outside of the school setting during the lockdown period,” The FA said.
The Football Association said that updates about the fixturing of the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will be made available at a later date.
The association also thanked stakeholders for their commitment and determination for the restart of football matches. The Football association remains in contact with relevant government departments, leagues and clubs and will provide further information for English non-elite football.
On Wednesday, the UK recorded 20,018 new coronavirus cases.