Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus

Keeping you updated on the impact on Essex football

update 8

Thursday 2nd April, 12:00pm

Today we've published updates to the Frequently Asked Questions section on this page to reflect new information on Coach Education (Courses and Workshops), Safeguarding, Football Development, Referees and Governance.

As part of our pledge to keep Essex grassroots football fully informed during this difficult time, we'd recommend checking this page on a regular basis for the most up-to-date details.
Frequently asked questions

I’m booked onto a course/workshop with the Essex County FA. Is this course now cancelled?

In-line with the current suspension of all grassroots football, our education 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 Coach Education Team.

I have started a course. What happens now?

A few of our courses were part-way through at the time activities were postponed. Once we have an idea of timescales for re-scheduling these courses, we will be in contact with all impacted learners to discuss the options available in due course. If you have any immediate concerns, please contact our Coach Education Team.

When will there be an update about my course?

We will provide updates, both through our website and by E-Mail correspondence, as further information is available. We will be carefully following Government and FA advice in the coming weeks to ensure we take the best possible action moving forward.

Will my re-scheduled course/workshop run in the same way as the one I booked?

Every effort will be made to ensure courses follow a like-for-like delivery structure, including the course tutor(s). Work has already started on this. We appreciate that individual learner circumstances may change due to the current climate. If this is the case, please contact your Course Organiser to discuss this further.

What support is available to coaches during this period?

Fortunately, there are many sources of information available to coaches across the game, to aid personal development. We’ve outlined a few below and will continue to share ideas and resources via Twitter at @EssexCoaches.

CPD (Continuing Professional Development): new material added throughout the year
The Boot Room: the new home of coaching resources
The FA Coaching Community - Hive Learning: connect with coaches from all levels of the game
Other Online CPD: you’ll need your E-Mail Address and password to sign-in
FA Playmaker (coming soon): perfect for those interested in coaching or leading activities
Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination: helpful documents, resources and guidance
England DNA: playing and coaching philosophy of the England teams
FA Grassroots Guide: download the file below for a handy grassroots guide to youth football
FA Talent ID: Level 1 can be completed online
FA Player: countless clips and highlights to review
FA Matchday App: organise your football life

If you have any questions, please contact our Coach Education Team.

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.

Workshops: How will this affect my/the club’s position for 2020/21 affiliation?

This is subject to review depending on the progress of Covid-19. We will be liaising with The FA to have a better understanding for this period and the impacts of individuals not being able to complete the workshop. By way of assistance, please see below the period of validation for a certificate:

Safeguarding Children Workshop - three years
Welfare Officer Workshop - does not have to be renewed after completion
Safeguarding for Committee Members - four years
DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) - three years

If you have previously completed a Safeguarding Children Workshop in person (three hours), you should be able to renew via the online self-recertification.

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 in regular communication with The FA, and have received guidance on this process. 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 present climate, it is not currently possible to verify your DBS. At this time, we would ask for your understanding but, if you have any specific concerns, please do contact our Safeguarding Department. We are mindful this is a fast-moving and changing landscape and individuals and clubs will want to be in the best possible position.

How do I commence new, or renew an existing, DBS application?

We are aware that individuals will be receiving notifications of their DBS expiry date and will be looking to renew. However, The FA are advising that new applications and renewals, should not be submitted at this time as verifications are unable to be undertaken. 

The FA have advised that they are currently exploring options in relation to DBS checks as there will be a large number outstanding whilst we are all following government health advice. The FA are communicating with the agencies and the outcomes will be shared by us when known.

Will my re-scheduled course/workshop run in the same way as the one I booked?

Every effort will be made to ensure courses follow a like-for-like delivery structure, including the course tutor(s). Work has already started on this. We appreciate that individual learner circumstances may change due to the current climate. If this is the case, please contact your Course Organiser to discuss this further.

How does Covid-19 affect my Charter Standard Annual Health Check?

The Annual Health Check (AHC) window has been extended until 30th April. Please continue to work closely with your local Football Development Officer who will support you through the process.

Wildcats

As an FA recreational programme, these are postponed-in line with the current guidelines on grassroots football. All centre operators have been notified of this. We encourage all participants to continue to liaise with their respective Wildcats Centre Lead and keep up-to-date with the latest news via this website.

Mars Just Play Centres

As an FA recreational programme, these are postponed-in line with the current guidelines on grassroots football. All centre operators have been notified of this. We encourage all participants to continue to liaise with their respective Just Play Centre Lead and keep up-to-date with the latest news via this website.

Facility Bookings

We have been contacted by a number of clubs/teams about the facility bookings they have in place, and the possibilities of support to claim money back for unused bookings. We advise that you liaise directly with the facility operator over the coming weeks to understand what their position is. You may wish to refer back to your terms and conditions of hire as a starting point to dialogue.

Covid-19 Funding Support

The Government and Sport England have set out details of support for organisations who are experiencing financial difficulties as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak. If your club is registered with HMRC you should explore the Government options first. For those clubs who are unincorporated, and operate as a members club, please explore the Sport England funding.

Government Support

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by Covid-19. This includes a package of measures to support businesses, including:

* a statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
* a twelve-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England   
* small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
* grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
* the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
* a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity amongst larger firms, helping them bridge Coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
the HMRC ‘Time to Pay’ Scheme
* Covid-19: Support for businesses

The HMRC website is advising that local authorities will be writing to you if entitled to the grants, and at which level (£10k or £25k) shortly but, if you haven't heard when everyone else starts receiving their notices, you should contact the local authority to whom you pay your business rates. More details can be found by following this link.

Has anyone in grassroots football tried to apply for Government funding yet?

The Thurrock Association Sunday League, who operate the Lakeside Sports Ground, have been working hard on exploring the opportunities and have been keeping us updated with their progress. You can find a link to this case study here.

Sport England Community Emergency Fund

The Community Emergency Fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need. It's specifically targeted at organisations who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short-term financial hardship, or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing crisis.

The types of organisations eligible include local sports clubs forced to close at short notice (but who are facing ongoing costs around maintenance and utility bills) and voluntary and community sector organisations who deliver or enable sport and physical activity.

What it will fund:

The fund has been developed to help community sport and physical activity organisations meet their obligations, in particular fixed costs, which are no longer supported with revenue as a result of Coronavirus. This might cover expenditure on:

* rent
* utility costs
* insurances
* facility or equipment hire
* core staffing costs (including casual workers) which cannot be met elsewhere by other Government funds

Key points to note:

* grants of between £300 to £10,000 are available
* Sport England expect that applicants will have exhausted all other Government funding sources before applying to this fund
* given the enormity of the current crisis, there will be a lot of interest, so we encourage clubs to look at this as soon as possible - Sport England are likely to get more applications than they are able to fund, so they will direct funds to where they’re most needed

For further information, and to start an application, please follow this link. We are keen to hear from clubs/leagues who progress with an application as we’d like to develop a case study to share with everyone.

Small-Sided Leagues

All Essex County FA-affiliated football activity has been suspended, which includes small-sided leagues. Nationally-affiliated small-sided providers have been advised to adhere to FA and Government recommendations.

Essex County FA Girls Regional Talent Centre

As an FA programme coordinated and delivered by the Essex County FA, all fixtures and training have been suspended, in-line with current guidelines on grassroots football. We encourage all players/parents/guardians to continue to liaise with centre staff, and to keep up-to-date with the latest news via our website.

Summer Tournaments

We fully appreciate that, for most clubs, their summer tournament/festival is their biggest fundraising opportunity ahead of a new season. Some clubs have already affiliated their respective event with us. In the current climate, if the event needs to be rescheduled to a later date, this can be done without the need to complete any further online form. We will refrain from sanctioning any further tournaments until there is more certainty around when grassroots football can resume. If you have any queries, please E-Mail beth.morrell@essexfa.com.

How will the suspension in grassroots football affect my promotion?

For the Levels 5-4, 6-5, 7-6, 3W-2W and 4W-3W schemes, the promotion season will finish as planned on 30th April 2020. Those referees who may not have received the requisite number of games, or received the required observations due to the season finishing early, will have their position reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

I’m currently booked onto an FA Referee Course which has now been postponed. Will I get a refund, or will I be offered a space on a future course?

In-line with the current suspension of all grassroots football, our referee education 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 Referee Team.

Will my re-scheduled course/workshop run in the same way as the one I booked?

Every effort will be made to ensure courses follow a like-for-like delivery structure, including the course tutor(s). Work has already started on this. We appreciate that individual learner circumstances may change due to the current climate. If this is the case, please contact your Course Organiser to discuss this further.

I haven’t completed my FA Referee Course, as I still need to referee my five training games and/or attend a Unit 6 session. What are my next steps?

Please E-Mail referees@essexfa.com and we can let you know your next steps, depending on how many games you’ve refereed.

I’m currently booked onto the Referee Workshop for the BBC Essex Senior Cup Final, which has now been postponed. Will I get a refund, or will my booking be valid for the rearranged date?

Once a rearranged date has been confirmed, we will look to honour your booking. If you’re unable to attend the rearranged date, please contact our Referees Team.

My FA DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) is up for renewal. How will I get my documents verified?

We are in regular communication with The FA, and have received guidance on this process. 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 present climate, it is not currently possible to verify your DBS.

At this time, we would ask for your understanding but, if you have any specific concerns, please do contact our Referees Department. We are mindful this is a fast-moving and changing landscape and individuals and clubs will want to be in the best possible position.

My FA Safeguarding Children is up for renewal. How can I update this?

At the moment, all County FA courses and workshops have been postponed until further notice. However, if you’re eligible to renew your FA Safeguarding Children online, please follow this link to our guidance on how to renew your FA Safeguarding Children Certificate.

Am I still able to referee small-sided football (i.e. PlayFootball, Soccersixes etc)?

All Essex County FA-affiliated football activity has been suspended, which includes small-sided leagues. Nationally-affiliated small-sided providers have been advised to adhere to FA and Government recommendations. All Essex County FA-affiliated referees have been advised to adhere to this guidance.

Will the 2019/20 season be extended?

The FA have made the decision that all grassroots football has now stopped for season 2019/20. Discussions are to be taken by each league/competition as to what should happen to conclude the season. We are liaising with competitions and providing guidance.

Can we train or play friendlies?

All grassroots football activity was suspended on 16th March following Government and Public Health England advice about the necessity for social distancing. This includes participation in training sessions and the playing of friendly fixtures.

Does this suspension include Walking Football?

The suspension from football is for all levels, and does include Walking Football. Walking Football within Essex is a summer competition and, after discussing this with The FA, the season has only just, or was just about to, begin. There is the ability - depending on the time we are in the current isolation period for - that the league can continue as normal.

Is our insurance still valid if we choose to train?

The Essex County FA have informed that all clubs should not train until The FA lifts the suspension of all grassroots football. Clubs and teams who ignore this instruction may not be insured and may not be able to make any claims against their policies.

What is happening with this season's County Cup Finals?

All County Cup Finals scheduled for March and April have been postponed until further notice. The Essex County FA will seek to rearrange these as soon as it is safe to do so.

Will this affect affiliation for the 2020/21 season?

The affiliation window for the 2020/21 season is currently scheduled to open on 1st May 2020. Both this, and the usual deadline date of 1st July, are subject to review depending on the progress of Covid-19.

Is the disciplinary process continuing to function?

Current discipline investigations from matches which took place prior to the suspension of grassroots football are continuing, as these fixtures did take place, and includes cautions and misconducts. Clubs or individuals are advised to contact a member of the Governance Team as soon as possible if they have any concerns regarding ongoing discipline, investigation, caution or misconduct cases.

Is my suspension still in place?

Match-based suspensions which have been imposed as a result of a red card offence, or following a misconduct hearing, will remain in place, with the suspensions to be served once the suspension on grassroots football is lifted.

Where a term-based suspension has been imposed by a discipline commission, these will continue to run during the period that football is not being played. Should an individual have received an Interim Suspension Order, this also remains in place. There are cases which are currently being considered by Discipline Commissions and, if there is a period suspension which is being imposed, the implementation of the suspension is being deferred until such time as football can officially begin again.

I’ve purchased BBC Essex Senior Cup Final tickets. What are my options?

In the current climate, the final is postponed. Work is being undertaken to re-arrange the final subject to Government guidelines on movement restrictions. Subject to the final being played, tickets which have already been purchased will be honoured. If the final is not played, or you cannot attend the re-arranged final, then all tickets will be refunded. If there are different individual circumstances, please E-Mail mark.wallis@essexfa.com.

What is the situation relating to the Personal Accident Insurance which has been required to be purchased?

We have received confirmation from Bluefin any Personal Accident Insurance purchased through them remains in place, subject to clubs complying with the Government and The FA measures in place. The expiry date for the insurance remains as 30th June 2020 so, if the Government measures change, the insurance will still be valid.

From the information which has been provided, Bluefin will be adjusting premiums for season 2020/21 to reflect any period of inactivity. If any club/team has specific queries regarding this, then please contact Bluefin via (0345) 872 5060 or nationalgame@bluefinsport.co.uk.

update 7

Thursday 26th March, 3:30pm

The FA has today released a statement to bring clarity to the conclusion of this season’s competitions.

Furthermore, we can now confirm that The FA has decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019/20 season. Read the full statement from The FA here: www.thefa.com/news/2020/mar/26/national-league-system-womens-football-pyramid-grassroots-covid-19-update-260320.

Coronavirus Update

update 6

Thursday 26th March, 2:00pm

The Prime Minister has reinforced the single most important action we can now all take, in fighting Coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

The campaign to raise awareness of this message has launched across TV, radio as well as digital and social channels. You can visit the Public Health England website to download materials and help amplify the message or, alternatively, you can share the posts from the Essex County FA Twitter and Facebook feeds: 

Public Health England Website
@EssexCountyFA on Twitter
EssexFootball on Facebook

Every Mind Matters have also released expert advice and top tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak. It includes guidance if you’re feeling worried or anxious. Again, you can visit the Every Mind Matters website to access this information or, alternatively, you can share the posts from the Essex County FA Twitter and Facebook feeds: 

Every Mind Matters Website
@EssexCountyFA on Twitter
EssexFootball on Facebook

Every Mind Matters

update 5

Tuesday 24th March, 3:00pm

In-line with the Government’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 outbreak and FA and Essex County FA guidance for all grassroots football in Essex to be postponed for the foreseeable future, we intend to provide timely updates, as well as answers to a number of FAQs across all aspects of the game.

If your query is not covered on this page, please contact one of our team. We will be encouraging our stakeholders to read through our FAQ section to see if their query is covered here. To keep you informed throughout this period of uncertainty, we have provided department updates.

update 4

Thursday 19th March, 4:00pm

The FA has today released a statement confirming an extension of the 2019/20 season indefinitely in relation to professional football.

In addition, the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 30th April 2020. Click here to read the full statement from The FA.

update 3

Wednesday 18th March, 5:00pm

CORONAVIRUS: LOCAL ESSEX FOOTBALL PLAYS ITS PART
Grassroots Thanked for Commitment and Dedication

During these unprecedented times, both locally and globally, we wish to say thank you for the commitment, dedication and patience members of the grassroots community have collectively shown, and we wish everyone across football good health.

This is a fast-moving scenario, which started with us putting our own competitions on hold and allowing leagues and competitions to follow suit and postpone their own games. This has since developed into an overall suspension of grassroots Essex football.

The focus has to be on public health, and football continues to play its part. The FA and the Essex County FA will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time. The FA are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review.

We’re aware that clubs will be suffering many financial troubles due to Coronavirus, County Cup Finals will need to be rescheduled and it’s going to be a challenge to fit matches in. We must all work together to get to a point where things are back to normal again as soon as possible.

County Office and Remote Working

Throughout this recent period since COVID-19 has affected England, The FA and the Essex County FA have taken Government advice, with the priority being the health and wellbeing of all. Current advice is that organisations should ‘work from home’ where possible.

For the foreseeable future, staff at the County Office in Chelmsford will be working remotely from home in the interests of safety, and to play our part in reducing the potential spread of the virus. Staff can still be contacted as normal, though E-Mail is the preferred method at present.

There are a number of ‘unknowns’ in football at the moment, but the staff at the Essex County FA are committed to supporting you. We will issue a weekly update to keep you informed of the latest developments in local grassroots football.

Coronavirus: The Facts

COVID-19 is a new illness which can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called Coronavirus. People with either of the following symptoms are advised to stay at home:

* a high temperature - you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
* a new, continuous cough - this means you've started coughing repeatedly

Current advice is not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home. Individuals are asked to keep up-to-date with, and follow, Government and Public Health England guidance, which includes:

* promote best practice for hygiene, ensuring cleaning is effective and soaps are provided (plus sanitiser, where possible)
* anyone with flu-like symptoms should avoid the risk of spreading their infection, whatever that infection may be, by staying at home and recovering

Update 2

update 2

Monday 16th March, 9:00pm

GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL IN ESSEX SUSPENDED
All Essex-Affiliated Competitions Postponed

Following the Government’s announcement today (Monday) about the Coronavirus outbreak, recommending for people to avoid social contact and gatherings where possible, and in-line with Football Association advice, the Essex County FA are suspending all affiliated football in Essex for the foreseeable future.

This suspension includes all matches (including friendlies) and training sessions until further notice. Throughout this recent period since COVID-19 has affected England, The FA and the Essex County FA have taken Government advice, with the priority being the health and wellbeing of all.

Both will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time. The FA are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review.

Update 3

UPDATE 1

Friday 13th March, 2:00pm

ESSEX COUNTY FA COMPETITIONS POSTPONED UNTIL AFTER 3RD APRIL
Safety Precautions in Place following Coronavirus Outbreak

All Essex County FA Cup fixtures and coach education courses have been postponed until after Friday 3rd April in alignment with the professional game, following the Football Association’s statement regarding the Coronavirus outbreak.

In Essex grassroots football, it is a league/competition’s decision, at this time, if they wish to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions as autonomous bodies within the game. This is in-line with Government advice at this time.

It is not felt that grassroots fixtures need to be cancelled as a matter of course at the present time, although some may need to be if teams are self-isolating and are unable to play, or if teams are concerned about playing and the league/competition agrees to postpone. Sports are asked to keep up-to-date with, and follow, Government and Public Health England guidance.

Update 1

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