NCFA

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Norfolk County FA
Frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and #NorfolkFootball.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 & #NORFOLKFOOTBALL

The FA has declared that for the National League System, the results for the 2019-20 season are to be expunged with no promotion or relegation. What does this mean for Norfolk football?

As part of the National League System, the Anglian Combination Premier Division results will be expunged. Below this level on a Saturday and in all other local football, including youth leagues, Norfolk FA will be working with our sanctioned Leagues on how to conclude the season at grassroots level and further details will be announced regarding this in due course.

Does The FA statement mean that there is no option to conclude the league season in the summer?

Correct, the 2019-20 season is concluded and there will be no option to play any outstanding league games.

What about League and County Cups?

There is greater flexibility around Cup Competitions, with options including simply cancelling the Competition, trophy sharing (if finalists are already determined) or delaying the finals to a “season opener” for the 2020-21 season. No decisions have been made regarding this for Norfolk Football and discussions will take place shortly with further details announced in due course.

If a Competition is brought to an immediate end with results expunged (i.e. without promotion or relegation occurring), does that also mean that the Championship cannot be awarded? (i.e. Can Leagues announce or award titles?)

If a Competition is brought to an immediate end with results expunged (i.e. without promotion or relegation occurring) then there are no winners and thus no medals/trophies can be awarded. Moving teams to the appropriate Divisions for next season can occur under Rule 2L at the League’s AGM and this is very important in youth football. It is important that teams don’t stay in Divisions next season where they are well above or well below their abilities.

My team has applied to join the Anglian Combination next season. Does this mean that now cannot happen?

Once the decision has been made on how the season should be concluded for the Anglian Combination and Saturday District Leagues a review on the position and impact on Clubs looking to join the League will be undertaken and again further details will be announced on this in due course.

When will we know more about what is happening?

We are currently living through unprecedented and extremely fluid times, but we recognise that teams would like to know how the 2019-20 season is going to be concluded so we will be working with our Leagues to reach these outcomes as soon as we possibly can.

As this season has been concluded, does that mean that as a player I can now sign for another club for next season?

No. As it stands there has been no change to the Rules regarding player registrations so players cannot sign for next season yet.

We are hoping to run a summer tournament, does this affect that in any way?

No. There is of course a ban on all grassroots football for the foreseeable future and we have no idea how long that may last which could prevent summer tournaments taking place if football does not return in time. However the decision to bring the current season to a conclusion does not have an impact on your plans.

Are we able to train as a team?

No. The suspension also applies to training. If a team were to organise a training session this would be in breach of the suspension and you would not be covered by the Club’s Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance.

Can we play friendlies?

No. There is no difference between playing a friendly and playing a league or cup match. You cannot play any football whilst the suspension is in place. It is important to understand that if you were to play a friendly, you would not be covered by the Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance.

Can we play in summer tournaments?

No. As it stands, no Club can run a summer tournament due to the current suspension. We do of course recognise that these events are important fundraisers for Clubs but at the present time the suspension does prevent these from taking place.

What about kickabouts with friends?

This does not fall under our direct jurisdiction. However, we would very strongly advise that everybody avoids unnecessary contact and observes “social distancing” at all times as per the current government guidelines.

Does the suspension include small-sided football?

Yes, all affiliated football is currently suspended for the foreseeable future so that covers every format of the game.

How will my club pay its bills?

We do recognise that this is a significant worry for a large number of clubs and County FA’s are currently discussing the financial implications of the suspension with The FA who in turn are talking to the government. At this stage it is simply too soon to give any further information about any support that may be available, although the Treasury have issued the following:

  • Grant funding of £25,000 is available for hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will be introduced.
  • The government is bringing forward legislation to allow SMEs to reclaim statutory sick pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible (further information to follow).
  • Businesses in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s 'Time To Pay' service. Please call the dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559 who can help with any tax deferrals and revised payback schedule.
  • Businesses that have insurance for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered. However, the impact of government advice on mass gatherings in terms of insurance is yet to be confirmed. Please check your individual insurance policy.

For further support, please visit the government’s support for businesses page or contact your local authority which will be issued with guidance to help businesses in their area.

When will football start again?

We wish we knew! The situation regarding Covid-19 is incredibly fluid at the moment and it is impossible to say at this stage when and how football will be back. Like you we are already desperate for it to return!

If results from last season are expunged, will any discipline fines we paid during the season be refunded?

No. The FA have confirmed the position regarding this. The Sanctions imposed are as a result of misconduct committed and are not dependent on the completion of a season. This would be a similar scenario to matches abandoned where the game has not completed but the sanctions remain.

What about outstanding suspensions from the 2019-20 season. Will these be waived?

As per the regulations any suspension outstanding following the last competitive fixture will be served at the commencement of the next season. On that basis any suspension that remains outstanding will be served at the commencement once competitive football recommences.

We are still receiving late fines on outstanding cases. With everything that is going on surely that cannot be fair?

We agree. The fines that are being added are automatically produced by the Whole Game System. Arrangements are being put in place to prevent any further late fines and/or Club/ Team suspensions being imposed as a result of non-payment. If you have received notice of a late fine since 1st March, please email Support@NorfolkFA.com and we will arrange for this to be removed.

When will I be able to book onto a course or workshop?

Again, we wish we knew! If you are wanting to book onto a course or workshop in the future you can visit our Development and Courses page, select the course that you are interested in and then fill in the Expression of Interest form. We will then email you once the next dates are available. Please note that although the next date is showing is 01.07.20, these are not actual dates courses will start from, the system just can’t work without a date!

Will my club lose its Charter Standard status?

The FA have confirmed an extension of one month for clubs to complete their Annual Health Check. This means the deadline to submit and be awarded has been pushed back from March 31st to April 30th.

Where clubs are required to book individuals onto courses, we still have plenty of availability in June. However, there will be some leniency if volunteers cannot access these courses for clubs to renew their accreditation. Volunteers will still be required to complete their online Safeguarding renewal, where possible, before the health check can be awarded.

If a club does not submit or cannot be awarded their Annual Health Check by the end of April, their accreditation will lapse.

Any clubs that have already been awarded their Health Check during the 2019/20 season will remain a Charter Standard Club going into the 2020/21 season.

If you have any questions regarding Annual Health Checks please email support@NorfolkFA.com.

I have seen that Sport England have released an emergency fund in response to the Covid-19 crisis, who can apply for this funding?

Local clubs, leagues and community sports organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship due to the impact of Covid-19 are eligible to apply to Sport England’s new Community Emergency Fund.  Norfolk County FA encourage all of our affiliated clubs and sanctioned leagues to consider applying if emergency money is needed.

How do clubs and leagues apply to the fund?

Sport England’s website hosts full information regarding the new Community Emergency Fund, and all applications are made via the Sport England website. In order to access the relevant information: https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/community-emergency-fund.

What if I have a Safeguarding concern for an under-18 or adult at risk?

The normal processes still apply. If you have an immediate concern outside office hours, the Police or another agency should be notified. The department is fully functioning, and can be reached via E-Mail or telephone. Even though football is currently suspended, we would stress that all normal reporting processes must continue, and that contact should be made immediately (or as soon as possible) to the department.

I’ve booked onto a Safeguarding Children Workshop or a Welfare Officer Workshop. What is happening regarding my workshop?

In-line with the current suspension of all grassroots football, our programme is also postponed until further notice. Once we have an idea of timescales for re-scheduling these courses, we will be in contact with all impacted learners in due course. If you have any immediate concerns, please contact our Safeguarding Team.

FA DBS

We are currently in communication with The FA and are awaiting guidance and more information on this process. We are mindful this is a fast-moving and changing landscape and individuals and clubs will want to be in the best possible position. When further updates are received, we shall share these.

What if my DBS expires?

We are aware that individuals will be receiving notifications of their DBS expiry date and will be looking to renew. Due to the difficulties around verification in the current climate, it may not be possible to verify your DBS. At this time, we would ask for your understanding whilst we await communication from The FA. We shall offer updates on this matter but, if you have any specific concerns, please do contact our Safeguarding Department.

Should you need to contact anyone, please e-mail Info@NorfolkFA.com and someone will be able to assist you.

If you have a question that is not answered above, please e-mail info@NorfolkFA.com.