Hillingdon Borough Football Club
Safe Return to Football Policy
Following The Football Association announcement to allow competitive grassroots football to return after the national Lockdown, Hillingdon Borough FC have read, digested and evaluated the F.A.’s published guidelines and produced the below policy to ensure adherence to the new guidelines and most importantly to ensure the safety of players, staff, officials and eventually spectators who will come to Middlesex Stadium, the Home of HBFC. This policy will also be backed up by a series of individual risk assessments which will be continuously reviewed, monitored and updated accordingly.
Each club has been instructed by the FA to appoint a Covid-19 officer and HBFC have followed this guidance and recruited this individual, whose role will be to oversee and make sure to keep up to date with latest FA guidance and ensure that it is communicated throughout to all the coaches, players, club officials and supporters. The appointed Covid-19 officer of HBFC is Aqeel Akram, the Assistant Manager of the 1st Team and Aqeel’s contact details can be found at the end of this document.
Many of the directives issued by The FA are legislative and there are some that are advisory which Hillingdon Borough FC have included in this policy for best practice and again, most importantly to ensure the safety of everyone that comes in contact with HBFC. The following guidance is FOR ALL players, coaches, club officials, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers and spectators. There are three definitive sections which will cover all of the match day protocol as directed by The FA:
1) BEFORE ANY FOOTBALL ACTIVITY TAKES
2) PLACE DURING ALL FOOTBALL ACTIVITY
3) AFTER ALL FOOTBALL ACTIVITY
• It is vital that all 3 parts of this document are read by anyone who is visiting Hillingdon Borough FC as this is to ensure that everyone follows and keeps in line with the FA and Government guidelines to keep everyone safe.
CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
Covid-19 is a highly infectious and dangerous disease. A resumption of contact play is only achievable if those involved create and maintain a controlled environment that minimises the threat of infection. Risk in sport cannot be completely eradicated but with caution and care these risks can be reduced. All those returning to competitive grassroots football must adapt the following F.A code of behaviour:
Be aware of your own personal health. If you show any of the covid-19 symptoms you must stay at home, inform the NHS test and trace and seek medical advice.
Be responsible. Read the guidance provided by the F.A and your club so that you are aware of the changes to the game and what is expected of you.
Practise good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and before, during and after a game.
Where possible maintain social distancing. This will not always be possible in a competitive match environment and that is acceptable. However, before and after a game you should maintain social distancing.
Support NHS test and trace. You’re likely to be asked to provide your details so that in the event of a covid-19 outbreak those potentially infected can be traced. This is to everyone’s benefit so please co-operate.
Do not spit. Spitting and the rinsing out of mouths is now a recognised risk to the health and must not be done. Avoid shouting or raising your voice if face to face with other players.
Section 1: BEFORE ANY FOOTBALL ACTIVITY TAKES PLACE
In line with current government guidance, all participates (players, coaches, club officials, match officials’ volunteers and spectators) should self-check for symptoms of COVID-19. No-one should leave home to participate in football if they, or anyone live with, has any of the following:
• A HIGH TEMPERATURE (ABOVE 37.8C)
• A NEW, CONTINUOUS COUGH
• A LOSS OF, OR CHANGE TO THEIR SENSE OF SMELL
If an individual is symptomatic and/or living in a household with a possible COVID-19 infection they should remain at home and follow government guidance.
TRAVELLING TO THE MATCH
From 1st August, spectators will not be allowed to watch teams at the Middlesex Stadium. For grassroots football (Athletic and Sunday teams), spectators are allowed as long as they maintain social distancing in bubbles of maximum of 6. As soon as this changes this document will be updated.
All participants and other attendees should follow best practice for travel, including minimising use of public transport. Participants should walk or cycle if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle. If participants do have to travel with people outside their household or support bubble they should try to:
• Share the transport with the same people each time;
• Keep to small groups of people at any one time;
• Open windows for ventilation;
• Face away from each other;
• Clean the car between journeys using standard cleaning products – including door handles and other areas that people may touch;
• Ask the driver and all passengers to wear a face covering;
• Consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle – this may mean using more than one coach or minibus if possible, and the wearing of face coverings on coaches or minibuses;
• Require regular hand sanitisation by passengers on a coach or minibus;
• Limit the time spent at garages, petrol stations and motorway services;
• Keep distance from other people and if possible, pay by contactless;
• Wash hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise hands often and always when exiting or re-entering the vehicle;
• When finishing the journey participants should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise their hands as soon as possible.
Upon arrival, everyone will be required to adhere to the systems in place and general movement around the ground following the relevant signage that will be in place giving information/instructions on the do’s and don’ts plus movement in and around the ground.. All attendees should follow best practice and wash their hands upon arrival for at least 20 seconds or sanitise immediately with the sanitisers provided at entry points and around the ground. At all times observe the 1-meter social distancing guidance as much as possible. Everyone who enters the ground will be required to provide name and contact details to support the NHS test and trace. This information will be held for 21 days in line with the government recreational team sport framework in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. We would advise that this list is prepared before arrival. Toilets will be available and clearly signposted. Please ensure the practice of social distancing. For matches, all players, club staff and officials will undergo a temperature check before being allowed to take part. If a temperature is too high, the participant will be asked to return to their vehicle for ten minutes before returning for a second measure. Anyone showing over after the second attempt will be asked to leave.
CHANGING ROOMS BEFORE THE MATCH
Officials – Where possible officials should arrive in kit however officials changing rooms can be
used one at a time.
Players – A maximum of eight participants are allowed to get changed in the changing room at one time. Before the match the players plus the manager will be allowed to have team talks if absolutely necessary but then should wait in the changing room until the bell rings. The officials should leave for the pitch first, followed by the away team and finally the home team.
To avoid time spent indoors, where possible and where weather permits. Team talks should take place outside.
The exchange of team sheets will follow the guidelines of the respective competition.
Section 2: DURING ALL FOOTBALL ACTIVITY
Competitive training can take place for all participants, in an outdoor setting provided this takes place in groups of no more than 30 (including coaches).
The individual teams will decide the appropriate ratio of coaches to participants, following the relevant FA safeguarding policy outlined in safeguarding guidance notes 5.5. Sessions might include multiple groups of 30 but only if they can be appropriately socially distanced from each other. In all settings before and after the session, and in any breaks, all participants should practice social distancing, in line with Government guidelines on two metres or ‘one metre plus’.
Any spectators at training sessions (including parents and carers) must be restricted to discrete six-person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance, ensuring space for officials, coaches and substitutes.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AROUND MATCHES
Competitive match play is now permitted, however, in all settings before and after matches all participants should practice social distancing.
COVID-19 MODIFICATIONS IN MATCHES
Pre-match handshake should not happen. Instead players will be asked to hand-sanitise before kick-off.
Team talk huddles should not take place. Team talks can take place as long as social- distancing is observed.
Warm-ups/cool downs should always observe social distancing.
Coaches, other team staff and substitutes are allowed, but must always observe social distancing on touch lines/dug-outs. Social distancing must also be observed during interactions when a substitution is being made. The small stand can be used to allow distancing away from dug-outs.
Set plays free kicks/corners: referees and coaches should encourage players to get on with the game and not unnecessarily prolong set-up such as defensive walls to limit the prolonged close marking. Goal posts should be wiped down before matches, after matches and at half time. Goal celebrations should be avoided.
Interactions with referees and match assistants should only happen with players observing social distancing.
SOCIAL DISTANCING DURING BREAKS (E.G HALF TIME)
During breaks and half-time all participants must remain socially distanced. Coaching staff and substitutes should for example, spread out and avoid sharing a dug out or bench if social distancing cannot be observed. Water bottles or other refreshment containers should in no circumstances be shared. Participants are advised to bring their own drinks or refreshments, in a named container. After activity participants must maintain government mandated social distancing for social interaction. This will include the use of the changing rooms or showers if required, and clubhouse facilities where participants congregate in afterwards.
USE OF EQUIPMENT
The sharing of equipment must be avoided where possible. Where equipment is to be shared, equipment must be cleaned before use by another person. Used it should be placed in the baskets provided. Persons handling the soiled kit must use gloves, wash their hands and sanitise immediately after, and appropriate arrangements made for the cleaning of the kit.
The nature of football means that the ball is not frequently handled. When the ball goes out of play it should not be retrieved by non-participants and should be retrieved using the feet rather than the hands where possible. Where there are breaks in the game if throw-ins or handling has occurred the ball should be disinfected.
There is an additional risk of infection in close proximity situations where people are shouting or conversing loudly. This particularly applies indoors (e.g. inside clubhouses) and when face to face. If possible, players should therefore avoid shouting or raising their voices when facing each other during, before and after games. This is included within The FA’s Code of Behaviour.
Everyone should refrain from spitting. If you need to sneeze or cough, you are encouraged to do so into a tissue or upper sleeve and advised to avoid touching your face. Ensure any tissues are disposed of in a sealed bin as soon as possible.
TREATMENT OF INJURIES
Hillingdon Borough FC appointed first-aiders/Physio will follow the FA’s First Aid Guidance. Injuries during play should still be treated as participant health and safety is of utmost importance. In all cases but particularly where medical treatment is needed, the best form of protection is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene. An increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and equipment, using standard household cleaning and disinfection products, will be recommended as per The FA’s supporting medical guidance. If a participant gets injured, a member of their household can assist if present and appropriate, but others (including match officials and teammates and coaches) will still need to socially distance unless a life or limb-threatening injury necessitates compromising guidelines to provide emergency care.
Where there is a first-aider or other medical personnel present, they should be equipped with the appropriate PPE (including face coverings) to protect themselves and others if they need to compromise social-distancing guidelines to provide medical assistance.
After contact with an injured participant, the person who has administered first aid should clean their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This advice is applicable to all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact or social distancing was maintained. The first aider should also avoid touching their mouth, eyes and nose. Physios or their equivalent or anyone who is administering any form of treatment, should keep a record of each participant they have come into contact with for NHS test and trace purposes. If a participant becomes Covid-19 symptomatic during the activity, they should immediately remove themselves from the session and return home as quick as possible.
PLAYERS THAT LEAVE THE FIELD (SUB OR SENDING OFF)
Any player who is subbed or sent off should return to the changing rooms immediately to get showered (if applicable) and changed.
Section 3: AFTER ALL FOOTBALL ACTIVITY
Hands should be washed at the earliest opportunity and personal equipment should be wiped down with a disinfectant.
CHANGING ROOMS AFTER THE GAME
Officials – There is one shower inside the match officials changing room allowing for change and shower whilst sticking to social distancing.
Players – Only three people should use the showers at a time. As before the game, best efforts should be made to ensure the changing rooms do not have too many inside at once. This should be dictated by the manager. For the home team, used football kit should be placed in the baskets provided. This will allow a single person to load the kit into the club’s washing machines using the correct PPE. If a player/parent feels they need to take the kit home they should communicate with the respective manager for arrangements. Whilst the guidance advises own kits should be washed; the teams are not supplied with their own individual kit so it would deem appropriate for the kit to remain washed at the club to avoid contamination.
After matches participants and attendees must maintain government mandated social distancing for social interaction. This includes any available changing rooms, showers, and clubhouse facility. Whilst the current restrictions are in place, the club are unable to provide post-match food for preseason friendlies or on match days.
The clubhouse opened on 4th July and has been maintaining social distancing protocols so we ask all attendees to ensure they follow any sign posted guidelines around the facility.
PAYMENT OF FEES
Where it is possible, payment of fees, such as match official fees should be made by bank transfer. This can be arranged before the start of the game.
COVID 19 SPECTATOR CODE OF CONDUCT
It is Hillingdon Borough FC’s policy to do all that is reasonably practicable to attain the highest level of health & safety for everyone connected to the Club. Our aim is to prevent injury, transmission and protect fans from any foreseeable harm.
To do this, we all must:
• Comply with Safety Measures in and around The Middlesex Stadium and guidance provided, which is available on the Club website.
• Adhere to League rules and guidance for spectators at League Games
• Follow our own Club Covid 19 safety policy and measures
The safety of everyone that comes to Middlesex Stadium is paramount and is HBFC utmost priority . For this, we are complied to implement a new Covid-19 Spectator Code of Conduct.
This code includes a basic commitment not only to respect the social distancing needs of others, but also to avoid doing things that might risk the health of fellow fans, players and staff working at the ground.
Printed copies of the Covid-19 Spectator Code of Conduct are also available around the ground and in particular from our ticket offices.
Both the Club and the fans of both the home team and the visiting team must share the responsibility to act with care and consideration, in the interest not only of fellow fans, spectators, the Club and the teams, and the wider game, but also of the health and wellbeing of our own community as a whole.
As a condition of entering Middlesex Stadium for games and in order to assist with NHS track and trace requirements, you will be asked to:
1. Provide and be able to verify your full name and contact details* (it will not include medical data)
2. If booking for a number of people, provide the same details for each member of the party
3. Confirm that they are not currently displaying COVID -19 symptoms and willing for temperature to be taken before entering
4. Agree that if you or anyone you are coming with, develops COVID-19 symptoms before a
game, will ensure that you will not be attending the game
*This data will be processed in a manner that is compliant with relevant data protection legislation.
All fans who will be coming to games, who purchase, or individuals who are allocated tickets,
including complimentary tickets, for a match at The Middlesex Stadium where social distancing and COVID-19 protection measures are in place, must agree to comply with this Covid-19 Spectator Code of Conduct. This includes all spectators in hospitality areas and, where applicable, supporters of visiting teams.
We need everyone attending games to play their part. Failure to comply impacts on the safety of everyone and will result in the Club taking action at the time, and after the game. This will include:
• Verbal warning(s)
• Ejection from The Middlesex Stadium
• Stadium ban
• Cancellation of season ticket without compensation
Thank you for your support and co-operation.
Covid-19 Spectator Code of Conduct
In order to assist our staff and stewards, and to help protect you and your fellow spectators, you are kindly requested to follow these guidelines.
Before purchasing a ticket, and again before attending a game, carry out your own personal risk assessment, taking into consideration not only your age, health status and clinical vulnerability, but also, if booking for others within your social bubble**, their age, health status, and clinical vulnerability.
As a condition of purchasing or being allocated a ticket, you must agree to provide details to support and assist NHS track and trace.
At all times and in all parts of Middlesex Stadium please observe social distancing and avoid close contact with others who are not in your social bubble**.
• Arrive in good time to go through all necessary entry procedures
• Respect and keep to any spectator only zones
• Make sure in advance that you know where your entry point is, and, if an entry time is specified on your ticket, be there on time
• For spectators in standing areas, respond to requests to spread out or move to other areas
• Be aware that your temperature might be taken before entry
• Be aware you might be required to wear a mask or face covering
• Be aware that all payments inside the ground are contactless where possible
• If you need to access any of Middlesex Stadiums amenities, such as toilets, food and drink outlets, or concessions, check to see if any of them are not in use, and plan accordingly
• Remain in your seat or place at all times wherever possible
• If you do need to leave your viewing position, wait for a time when the gangway is clear and always follow the signs and routes indicating which way to go
• If you are seated, when moving past other spectators, to and from your seat, please avoid face to face contact with other spectators - sometimes called the ‘brush past’ - have courtesy and turn your back as you pass
• If you are standing, please stay in your allocated space, within your social bubble**, and remain aware of the movements of others at all times
• Maintain good hand hygiene – use the sanitiser dispensers provided and avoid touching your face, or handles, railings etc, whenever possible
• Always cover your mouth if needing to cough or sneeze
• Avoid hugs, high-fives and any close contact with people who are not within your social bubble**
• Take care when shouting, singing or celebrating
• If you are attending with other members of your social bubble**, please make sure they all have read and understood this code of conduct
• Fans must not pass on or sell tickets to any other individual, including anyone with their social bubble**
All fans who attend, coming into Middlesex Stadium, purchase, or individuals who are allocated tickets, agree to comply with this Covid-19 Spectator Code of Conduct
**Social bubble is currently defined as up to 6 people from no more than 2 households.
Hillingdon Borough FC would like to thank you in advance for your assistance and that we pull through this unusual time together.
Policy approved by Chair and Director of Football 10th August 2020
It is also important to note that this policy/guidance has been produced to allow football to take place at Middlesex Stadium, home of HBFC and does not supersede any further guidance or rules put in place by competition authorities.
Aqeel Akram – 07852 898261 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ciprian Pintilie – 07803301088 – email@example.com