Football Guidance Update – 11 March, 2021

Following the announcement from Scottish Government on Tuesday, 9 March, we have issued the following important information, key dates and next stages in the return to football, applicable from Friday, 12 March.

As clubs start to plan and prepare a return to activity, we encourage all organisations to consult with parents, carers and players to agree and risk assess all proposed activity in line with the following guidance. We continue to work with all the Affiliated National Associations to provide support and guidance to enable everyone to plan safely for the return to football in some capacity.   

In line with Scottish Government and sportscotland guidance, we have set out guidance for all, as well as age-related guidance for Under-12s, 12-17 year-olds and 18 years and older.

Please note, only Under-12s are permitted to engage in contact training, as per Government and sportscotland guidance.

If you do not live on mainland Scotland, you can follow the guidance for your area here.

Guidance for All

  • All activity for all age groups must take place outdoors.
  • A reminder that information on the Level 4 travel restrictions can be seen here.
  • All activity must be arranged to take place in an appropriately risk assessed venue.
  • All activity must only be arranged by Scottish FA registered clubs (clubs registered with an appropriate Affiliated National Association).
  • All activity should avoid inter-club training, competition or events.
  • Parents/carers are reminded that spectating is not permitted at any time and they should not congregate at the facility or nearby.
  • At no stage should groups mix and appropriate one way systems should be in place at your respective facility.
  • Please ensure that hygiene measures are implemented at all times.

All players, participants over the age of 13, and parents and carers are advised to undertake a COVID-19 eLearning course if they or their children are to participate in sports training, competitions and other events.  

Under-12s

Scottish Government and sportscotland guidance for children under the age of 12 permits participation in outdoor contact group activity. sportscotland Level 4 guidance can be found here.

We would urge everyone to adhere to the following guidance:

  • Contact activity for this age group is permitted, however physical distancing should be in place before and after activity.
  • Parents/carers can take a young person under the age of 18 out of their Local Authority area for their organised activity.
  • Physical distancing is necessary for coaches.
  • All group activity can consist of a maximum of 26 players and four officials per 1/3 of a pitch (the officials must be PVG certified and contain a COVID Officer, First Aider and an appropriately qualified coach).

12-17 years

The Scottish Government and sportscotland guidance regarding children between age 12-17 who are permitted to participate in outdoor non-contact group activity with full Level 4 guidance can be found here.

We would urge everyone to adhere to the following guidance:

  • All activity must be non-contact, ensuring physical distancing is in place at all times before, during and after activity takes place.
  • Parents/carers can take a young person under the age of 18 out of their Local Authority area for their organised activity.
  • It is recommended that activity is limited to twice a week and for a maximum of 60 minutes per session.
  • All group activity must consist of a maximum of 13 players and two officials per 1/4 of a pitch (the two officials must be PVG certified and contain a COVID Officer, First Aider, and an appropriately qualified coach).

18 years and above

The Scottish Government and sportscotland guidance regarding 18 years and above who are permitted to participate in outdoor non-contact group activity with full Level 4 guidance can be found here.

We would urge everyone to adhere to the following guidance:

  • All activity must be non-contact, ensuring physical distancing is in place at all times before, during and after activity takes place.
  • All activity must be organised within your own Local Authority area and players are not permitted to travel to neighbouring authorities to participate, as per Scottish Government travel restrictions.
  • It is recommended that activity is limited to twice a week and for a maximum of 60 minutes per session.
  • All group activity must consist of a maximum of 15 players and officials (two appropriate PVG officials for SYFA) and all activity must contain a COVID Officer and First Aider per 1/4 of a pitch.

FAQs

Q. What are the maximum number of people that are permitted currently per activity ‘bubble’?
 
A. Participant numbers per activity ‘bubble’ are as follows:
 
Under-12s: Up to 30 people – maximum of 26 players + four coaches.
12-17s: Up to 15 people – maximum of 13 players + two coaches.
18+: Up to 15 people.
 
Please ensure the PVG adult:child ratios applicable to each age grouping are fully implemented
 
Q. The guidance currently gives advice for my age group to take part in activity in either a third or a quarter of a pitch – if I have more space, can I bring more players into my training bubble?
 
A. No – the maximum players permitted per bubble cannot be extended. We have issued advice based on what we feel is appropriate space for fun and safe activity to take place. If your facility offers alternative options, please ensure you follow all health and safety checks to ensure you can keep physically distant from the other bubbles.
 
Q. My team are permitted to take part in contact activity, can I play a game against another club?
 
A. No, not at this stage. All activity must take place at your own club’s training sessions only.

Guidance Webinar

The below webinar is delivered by key Scottish FA staff to talk through the guidelines on this page and key reminders around child wellbeing and diversity & inclusion.

Key Dates/Next Stages

The following are indicative dates that will allow clubs to start to prepare for future activity and over the coming weeks we will continue to engage with the Scottish Government and sportscotland to gain more clarification on specific areas.

5 April

  • Stay at home: Stay at home requirement removed

26 April

  • Strategic (Levels) Framework:  Return to a levels system, which includes regional variation based on data. Further detail will be published in as soon as it is available.
  • Sport:The levels system will support the phased re-opening of sport. The detail of what activity will be permitted in each level will be confirmed this month.

We once again thank all our clubs, volunteers and players for their continued patience as we start to progress over the coming weeks towards a safe return to football.

At this time, we would encourage everyone to maintain daily physical activity within their own household or by following the Scottish Government ‘meeting others outdoors’ guidance.