NCFA

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 & #NORFOLKFOOTBALL

Q: What football activity can I currently participate in? 

A: The FA issues updated guidance regarding this on 12th June and further information can be found here:

http://www.norfolkfa.com/news/2020/jun/12/new-covid19-guidance-issued


Q: Do we know when the 2020-21 season will get underway?

A: Unfortunately not. With the situation regarding Covid-19 remaining incredibly fluid it is impossible to say when and how football will return. All we can continue to do at this time is play our part by following all government instructions and guidance.

 

Q: Is there a chance that next season may not be able to start on time?

A: We hope that things will be back to normal next season, but it certainly remains a definite possibility that there may be a delay. The government will determine when and how the current restrictions that are in place are lifted and only once it is safe to do so will The FA permit grassroots football to start again. Most of our Leagues start between mid-August and early September so let’s hope that we can do that for the 2020/21 season.

 

Q: What will happen if Leagues cannot start on time, or do start but then have to pause again due to a second wave of Covid-19?

A: We are working closely with all of our sanctioned Leagues with regards to planning for the 2020/21 season and part of that includes working on contingency plans to cover some of the scenarios that may arise. As I am sure you can appreciate this is an extremely challenging task with so much uncertainty on what the future may hold, but all Leagues will be looking to start the new season as well prepared as they possibly can be.

 

Q: What is happening with League AGMs this season?

A: All AGMs will be held “virtually” due to the restrictions imposed by social distancing and we will be supporting Leagues in doing this. Every League has now set a date for their AGM and this will be communicated directly to the relevant Clubs by each League.

 

Q: What is happening with regards to Club Affiliation to Norfolk FA for next season? When we will be able to affiliate and how much will it cost?

A: We are delighted that we are able to support Clubs by offering FREE affiliation for the 2020/21 season. Further details can be found here: http://www.norfolkfa.com/news/2020/may/29/norfolk-fa-statement-free-affiliation-for-20-21.

 

Q: What about League fees?

A: League fees are determined directly by each League, with the financial position of each competition varying greatly. Once a League has determined the fees that it will be charging for next season, they will communicate this directly to their Member Clubs.

 

Q: Can I register players of the new season yet?

A: No. There are currently no changes to the Player Registrations processes, so we expect the player registration window to open on 1st July. Please note that for the 2020-21 season all players will have to be registered with either their email address, or for youth football, the email address of one of their parents/ guardians.

 

Q: If players have an existing discipline suspension, will this still apply next season?

A: Yes. As per paragraphs 66-68 of the Disciplinary Regulations, any suspension outstanding following the last competitive fixture will be served at the commencement of the next season. On that basis The FA have confirmed that any suspension that remains outstanding will be served once competitive football recommences.

Q: If my Club is struggling financially, what help is available?

A: We do recognise that finances are a worry for many clubs. 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.

In addition, 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 our affiliated clubs and sanctioned leagues to consider applying if emergency money is needed.

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.

 

Q: What support are Norfolk FA offering Clubs at the moment?

A: Although the majority of our staff are currently furloughed, we are continuing to actively provide support to grassroots football in the County. One of the key activities we are currently undertaking is a bi-weekly Club Development WebEx to enable us to provide important updates to all Clubs as well as answer any questions you may have.

You can find more information on this at http://www.norfolkfa.com/news/2020/apr/07/norfolk-club-development-webex

 

Q: We are hoping to run a summer tournament; can we do that?

A: As it stands, there is 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.  Therefore, at present we are not sanctioning any summer tournaments, but we do recognise that these are important fund raisers for Clubs so hopefully this position will change in time for them to take place in some form.

Q: Now that football activity (remaining socially distant) is permitted in outdoors spaces for up to 6 people within a group, does this mean theFDC facilities will now re-open?

A: Unfortunately, we feel at present it’s best that open space facilities such as outdoor park spaces and recreational grounds are best suited to hosting these types of ‘small group’ activities.

Open Academy and Flegg Ormiston Academy
With two of our three FDC facilities based at the above school sites, this presents a further operational challenge meaning that neither of the schools nor NCFA as an operator feel re-opening is the correct thing to do in the circumstances.

theFDC, Bowthorpe Park, Norwich
Our main FDC facility will also remain closed whilst we continue to assess both how we’d ensure first and foremost that if ‘socially distanced’ activities were to be hosted, how the bookings could remain safe for all users and also financially how the Centre/Association could be in a position to host activity with the staffing resources and running costs required to do so.

Q: I still have outstanding monies left on my previous booking at one of theFDC’s?

As previously communicated, each booker has been given the option to either have a refund on the monies left remaining on the booking or utilise this as credit for a future booking when permitted. Should you have any questions regarding your specific booking, please email info@norfolkfa.com.

Q: Can I speak to one of theFDC’s staff members that I’m used to dealing with?

A: Unfortunately, staff from all three centres have been furloughed, as with the high majority of NCFA staff due to loss of income and football activity caused by COVID-19. The limited current staffing structure are doing their utmost to respond to any queries raised and please continue to either leave a voicemail message via 01603 704050 or email info@norfolkfa.com.

Q: When will theFDC’s re-open?

A: We can’t give a definitive answer to this one at present, we will continue to utilise both Government and FA advice for sports facility operators. What’s extremely important is that when we do re-open that we are confident the booked activities are safe for all users, whilst ensuring that financially it’s as sustainable as possible to cover the running costs and resources required to do so.

Q: What government support have theFDC’s received during this lockdown period?

A: Other than utilising the Government Furloughed Job Retention Scheme, none of theFDC facilities have been able to benefit from the Small Business Support Grant Scheme, which has presented further challenges for us when attempting to make activity sustainable and operational once again. This won’t deter our ambition to get back up and running as soon as possible, however we felt it important that our customer base are aware of the challenges we’ve been facing!

Q: What options were available with regards to how to conclude the season?

A: The FA provided two options for Leagues to consider:

  1. Bring the Competition to an immediate end with results expunged (i.e. without promotion or relegation occurring)
  2. League positions and promotions and relegations are resolved by a points per game calculation

Q: Was there no option to delay the end of the season and play matches when permitted?

A: No. The FA did not deem this feasible in grassroots football for a wide range of reasons. Sadly, at present there is no date of when football can re-commence so the only choice was the conclude the current season with immediate effect and select from one of the two options provided.

Q: Why didn’t Norfolk FA just dictate to all Leagues how they should conclude their season?

A: The current circumstances are completely unprecedented and as such it was felt that it was very important that we should recognise the autonomy of Leagues to determine how best to conclude their season so that they could take into account their own unique circumstances. Whilst ideally, we would have liked every League to choose the same option, we absolutely respect and support each League in the decision that they have made which is the one that the League Committee feels is the best for their Competition.

Q: How can the points per game calculation be used when it is not in the League rules?

A: SCOR/Y Rule 6(D) states: “The Management Committee shall have powers to apply, act upon and enforce these Rules and shall also have jurisdiction over all matters affecting the Competition”, giving the League the authority to apply the Rules and anything else not covered in the Rules that impacts the League – i.e. a Pandemic). This would then permit the League to add points per game as a determining factor. It will only be permitted for this season under the unique circumstances we are in and it must be stressed that this would not be applicable under normal circumstances.

Q: What if the positions are tied when using the points per game calculation?

A: Some tiebreaker options exist (e.g. Goal Difference for adult Leagues) unless a League wishes to have the position tied which would be allowed.

Q: If a Competition is brought to an immediate end with results expunged (i.e. without promotion or relegation occurring) can teams still move up/down divisions next season?

A: Yes they can and this is where Rule 2(L) is very helpful. “At the AGM or an SGM called for the purpose, a majority of the delegates present shall have the power to decide or adjust the constitution of the divisions at their discretion. When necessary this Rule shall take precedence over Rule 22.” This is where a discussion can take place at a future AGM / SGM so teams can be aligned to divisions based on the current season as the normal promotion and relegation could not be applied.

In the next few weeks all Leagues that have chosen to expunge results will be giving very careful consideration to this and how it may be implemented for their Competition and will then communicate this directly with their Member Clubs.

Q: My team had already mathematically won our division and now the results have been expunged. Surely this is not fair?

A: It is clearly recognised that whichever way a League has chosen to conclude their season will not be the fair and just solution for every Member Club. There is simply not a “one size fits all” solution. In the case of those Leagues which are expunging results, there can be no official champions, promotions or relegations.

 

However, where a team has already mathematically secured a League title, at the discretion of the League Committee, mementoes may be awarded to that team should they wish to do so.

 

Remember also that whilst there is technically no promotion / relegation when results have been expunged, a League can use Rule 2(L) when looking to place teams into divisions next season, subject to the approval of the Member Clubs at an AGM / SGM.

 

Q: My team were top of their division and our League has applied points per game meaning that a team that were below us have been declared Champions. Surely this is not fair?

A: Again, there is simply not a “one size fits all” solution and whichever option a League chose would result in some teams being affected in a negative way. Ultimately the PPG option is based upon the average number of points each team has won per League match played and then that is used to determine final table positions.

Q: What about League Cups? How are they affected?

A: 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. The Cup Competitions vary greatly from League to League, both in terms of how they are run and the stage they were at when the season concluded. As such, each League will carefully consider how best to conclude their Cups and then communicate this directly with their Member Clubs.

Q: What about County Cups?

A: Norfolk FA remain hopeful that all our County Cup competitions will be able to be played to a conclusion. This is obviously dependent on several factors, including of course when football is given permission to re-commence, but as it stands the intention is to conclude the County Cups as “season openers” for the 2020-21 season if it is possible and practical to do so.

Q: If a League has chosen to expunge results for the season, does this mean all discipline fines will get expunged and Clubs will get a refund?

A: No. The FA have confirmed that discipline cases will remain recorded in their entirety. Although the results have been expunged, it remains a fact that the offences have been committed and therefore the relevant sanctions still apply. This would be a similar scenario to matches abandoned where the game has not been completed but the sanctions remain.

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

A: As per paragraphs 66-68 of the Disciplinary Regulations, any suspension outstanding following the last competitive fixture will be served at the commencement of the next season. On that basis The FA have confirmed that any suspension that remains outstanding will be served once competitive football recommences.

 

Q: We have still been receiving late fines on outstanding cases. With everything that is going on surely that cannot be right?

A: We totally agree. Any fines that have been added were automatically produced by the Whole Game System. Arrangements have now been put in place by The FA 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.

 

Q: How will my Club pay its bills?

A: We do recognise that this is a significant worry for many 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.

In addition, 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 our affiliated clubs and sanctioned leagues to consider applying if emergency money is needed.

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.

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

A: No. As it stands there has been no change to the Rules regarding player registrations so players cannot sign for next season yet. All players remain registered to their existing teams until 31st May and as such should not be approached before this date without the necessary notice of approach being submitted, as per FA Rule C2(a).

Q: We are hoping to run a summer tournament; can we do that?

A: As it stands, there is 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.  Therefore, at present we are not sanctioning any summer tournaments, but we do recognise that these are important fund raisers for Clubs so hopefully this position will change in time for them to take place in some form.

Q: Can we play in summer tournaments?

A: 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.


Q: Does the suspension include small-sided football?

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


Q: How will my club pay its bills?

A: 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.

In addition, 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 our affiliated clubs and sanctioned leagues to consider applying if emergency money is needed.

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. 


Q: Are we any nearer to knowing when football might start again?

A: Unfortunately not. With the situation regarding Covid-19 remaining incredibly fluid it is impossible to say when and how football will return. All we can continue to do at this time is play our part by following all government instructions and guidance.


Q: If a League has chosen to expunge results for the season, does this mean all discipline fines will get expunged and Clubs will get a refund?

A: No. The FA have confirmed that discipline cases will remain recorded in their entirety. Although the results have been expunged, it remains a fact that the offences have been committed and therefore the relevant sanctions still apply. This would be a similar scenario to matches abandoned where the game has not been completed but the sanctions remain.

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

A :As per the Disciplinary Regulations, any suspension outstanding following the last competitive fixture will be served at the commencement of the next season. On that basis The FA have confirmed that any suspension that remains outstanding will be served once competitive football recommences.


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

A: 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.

Q: What is happening with regards to Club Affiliation to Norfolk FA for next season? When we will be able to affiliate and how much will it cost?

A: We are delighted that we are able to support Clubs by offering FREE affiliation for the 2020/21 season. Further details can be found here: http://www.norfolkfa.com/news/2020/may/29/norfolk-fa-statement-free-affiliation-for-20-21.


Q: What about League fees?

A: League fees are determined directly by each League, with the financial position of each competition varying greatly. Once a League has determined the fees that it will be charging for next season, they will communicate this directly to their Member Clubs.

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.

My FA Level 1 Introduction to First Aid in Football (IFAiF) has expired

To support coaches whose IFAIF has expired since the start of COViD-19 period (Monday 13 March) The FA have granted an interim extension until Friday 31 July 2020 which will be automatically updated on FAN records.

The FA will communicate directly to those affected by this; and recommend that they complete The FA’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Concussion modules as part of their CPD to refresh their knowledge.

Please note that there are currently no plans to make this qualification available online due to the practical nature of the workshop.

If your qualification expired prior to Monday 13 March you can complete an Expression of Interest form and we will notify you as soon as the workshops are available to book onto again.

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

A: 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.

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

A: 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

Q: Can face-to-face ID document verification now be carried out?

A: Yes. Post-lockdown the Government guidance allows you to travel outside of your home, irrespective of distance, providing you return the same night or stay within your "support bubble", follow Government guidelines on social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene.

Q: Can I travel to complete the ID document verification?

A: Yes. In line with Government guidelines, you should avoid public transport if you can, and should cycle, walk, or drive wherever possible. The Government has made the wearing of a face covering mandatory on public transport from the 15 June 2020. If there is no alternative to using public transport, then you must wear a face covering.

Q: What if either the verifier or the person having their documents checked feels unwell and/or is displaying any symptoms of possible Covid-19 infection?

A: Do not go ahead with the ID verification meeting if either party if feeling unwell and/or is displaying possible Covid-19 symptoms, or is concerned they may have come into contact with someone who has the virus. 

Only re-arrange to complete the verification when any self-isolation period has ended, you feel well, or have been advised by an NHS practitioner that is is safe to do so.

Q: Is it safe for a verifier to handle other people's documentation and if so what is the best way to do this?

A: Some research on how long Covid-19 lasts on surfaces does suggest that the risk of infecting others, or contracting Covid-19 through handling physical documents is low. In order to reduce the risk of transferring Covid-19 between parties, follow all the guidelines that Club Secretaries and Welfare Officers have been issued with.

Q: Why does the verification have to be face-to-face? Why can't a video call be allowed where both individuals can see each other and documents can be shown online?

A: Consideration was given to making use of video calls in line with DBS guidance. However, The FA, like some other national governing bodies of sport decided against this option, because:

i) Having tested it, it was obvious that it would not be possible to ensure that every document shared in this way would be clear enough for identification purposes;and

ii) The DBS requires any organisation using this method, to subsequently ensure they have viewed all original hard copy documents, as soon as face to face verification was enabled. The FA decided this would place an additional burden on the voluntary workforce.

Q: Can I renew my Safeguarding online?

A: If you have previously attend a 3 hour face-to-face session you can renew this online, free of charge here. If you have any access or progress issues please email Education@TheFA.com with your FAN and a screen shot if possible.

Q: Is there any further safeguarding advice available from The FA with regards to engaging with young people?

A: Yes! The FA has extended its safeguarding guidance for anyone working in football who engages online with U18's. Please visit the following links:

 

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.