Grassroots Football


Football is leading the way in trying to ensure all players, spectators, volunteers and their families are safe and that the game can be played at all levels. Durham CFA, Northumberland FA and our 7 partner local authorities put in place necessary restrictions to ensure the game can continue and meets local and national guidelines and ensure we can continue to keep playing the sport we all love.

It has become clear that the number of Covid-19 infections are strongly related to social gatherings that do not abide by guidance provided especially regarding travel, social distance, washing of hands and face coverings especially in hospitality areas and although it is recommended that spectators do not attend games we have acted to address this position, while keeping participants actively playing football on the pitch wherever we can.

It is imperative that you do not attend or participate if you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, are awaiting a test result or are part of a household which is self-isolating. Please remember to consider Government messaging regarding ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ Whenever possible.

The following restrictions (changes in RED) will apply from midnight on Thursday 8th October 2020 to all football affiliated with Northumberland FA and Durham County FA. These restrictions are above and beyond central FA guidance on the Return to Football which must be adhered to;

At all levels of football the NHS QR code or similar must be displayed and all in attendance must scan on entry or provide contact details – register here -

Adult football:

Men’s National League System Steps 3 – 6 & Women’s Football Pyramid Steps 3-6

  • Reduction of spectators – numbers do not exceed 15% of the minimum ground grading capacity – Stage 1
  • All spectators should wear face coverings at all times as stated in line with government advice.
  • Club houses/bars– It is strongly advised that these remain closed one hour before kick-off and remain closed until one hour after the final whistle. When open clubs must comply with all Government and Local Authority regulations including social distancing and table service requirements. Government guidance states that food and drink can be served outside in an open space if the clubs licence permits.
  • Changing facilities may remain closed where the facility owner deems this to be necessary.
  • All training must take place without spectators

     All Adult Football Outside of the National League System

  • With the facility owner’s permission if a team plays in a Regional NLS Feeder League and the ground is enclosed and a charge for admission is made a maximum of 40 spectators can attend The local restrictions guidance advises that you should not attend amateur or professional sporting events as a spectator in the affected local areas. If you do attend, you must remain socially distanced and groups of no more than 6 when outdoors.
  • No spectators at training or matches with the exception of the above.
  • Changing facilities may remain closed where the facility owner deems this to be necessary.


Youth & Disability Football

  • 1 parent/carer per player at matches/training - these are not classed as spectators but are in attendance to supervise their child from a safeguarding/welfare perspective
  • Face coverings should be worn at all times by those in attendance unless a playing participant.
  • No other spectators are permitted
  • Changing rooms closed and only accessible for toilets or for, safeguarding or welfare issues


    Other formats of the game

  • No friendly, charity matches or Tournaments at any level will be sanctioned
  • No trials should take place
  • Outdoor small sided, walking football and recreational football to be played without spectators in attendance.
  • All organised indoor football activity for people with disabilities and under-18 groups can take place (provided relevant guidance is followed and risk assessments carried out). The rule of 30 (all inclusive – parents, players, coaches etc.) still applies per session. However, parents and carers (limited to one per child) who bring children to indoor activities should ensure they follow Covid guidelines on Test and Trace, use hand sanitiser, maintain social distancing and wear a face covering. - You can find The FA Return to Indoor Football here -
  • Refer to Local Authority links below for guidance on participating in sporting activity indoors for those over 18. The guidance may differ according to your Local Authority area.

Any club or participant found to be non- compliant will be charged under The FA regulations and may have their matches suspended and / or use of facilities withdrawn until such time as they can ensure compliance with all guidance and requirements.

Northumberland FA’s Chief Executive, Andrew Rose-Cook, said: “We all know that the situation regarding Covid remains serious here in the North East. We really want to keep people playing football, in particular as it has huge benefits for mental health and wellbeing.  But it’s vital that everyone follows the restrictions we have put in place and we will be taking action against clubs who do not follow the rules, as they are putting the whole game at risk.”

Durham County FA’s Chief Executive, John Topping, added: “Over the past couple of weeks many people have provided comments on the restrictions some positive and some not. We all have to understand that if we do not put in place some restrictions and try our best together to reduce the spread of this virus, football and more importantly the way we live may well come to a halt. These restrictions are for the benefit of all and we have to look at them that way and do not take a selfish approach”

You should follow local authority advice from your area regarding further guidance, this includes guidance on use of public transport and car sharing;

Durham County Council -

Gateshead Council -

Newcastle City Council -

North Tyneside Council -

Northumberland County Council -

South Tyneside Council -

Sunderland City Council -

Durham FA & Northumberland FA - COVID-19 Update - FAQs