Clubs & Leagues

Leagues & Clubs

Many Teams, One Community

Coronavirus Update

Advice for Grassroots Essex Football

16/3/20 Update: An updated news story has been posted on our home page here. All future information relating to Coronavirus will now be published on our home page as required.

13/3/20 Update (pm): 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. Read more by clicking here.

13/3/20 Update (am): In light of recent developments, the Essex County FA would like to offer Essex grassroots football with an update on the local position regarding Coronavirus. The latest advice from Government is that there is presently no rationale to close or cancel sporting events, though this may change as the situation evolves.

There is a higher likelihood of severe illness the older you are (not an increased chance of contracting the virus), with those under the age of 25 likely to be unaffected by the disease. However, there is no age-specific guidance at this moment in time.

Sports are asked to keep up-to-date with, and follow, Government and Public Health England guidance. The key issues for hosting a sports event/match are: 

* Public Health England guidance should be read and followed
* for those travelling to sporting events overseas, or returning from overseas sports events, the Foreign Office’s travel advice should be read and followed
* 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
* clubs are advised that, if a spectator presents to a club member of staff with possible flu-like symptoms, they should be encouraged to leave, return home and call NHS 111 for further advice
* for those hosting sports events, whatever their size, attendees and participants should stay up-to-date on the Government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus.

The Essex County FA will continue to provide timely updates as appropriate. Thank you for cooperating.

5/3/20 Update: We'd like to provide an update on the impact of Coronavirus on grassroots football in Essex. We have received a number of enquiries, from seeking guidance on the current outbreak of Coronavirus and attempts to control its spread, specifically in relation to the use of pre/post-match handshakes at matches.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and follow the advice provided by the Government. While, at the time of writing, this does highlight and emphasise the need for good hand hygiene at all times as a preventative measure, it does not offer any directive to say that people should not shake hands.

We urge everyone involved to take a common sense approach to this issue. If teams feel happier not to shake hands, that is their choice and we encourage leagues to be understanding of such teams. Should teams decide not to shake hands, or opt for an alternative method, this must be conveyed to the match referee before the teams enter the field of play. Leagues, themselves, may choose to issue a policy to remove the procedural pre/post-match handshake, but this would be solely at their discretion.

What if the situation changes? We are actively monitoring Government advice in case the situation changes, and additional measures become necessary. As a matter of good practice, we'd recommend that leagues and clubs adopt the same approach. Further updates will be added to this page as appropriate.

You are encouraged to read the latest information about the situation in the UK, along with guidance for what to do if you think you’re at risk. Go to for information about the virus and how to protect yourself. Use the 111 online Coronavirus service to check if you need medical help. Further information is also available at

a sporting community

Developing and Governing

Football clubs are centres of activity where individuals unite as a team to cooperate towards a common goal. Bring clubs together to compete in leagues and you’re part of an even wider community. To preserve this, we develop and govern football for clubs to increase and maintain participation for players which is safe and enjoyable for all.

It’s important to stay fit and active for our general health and wellbeing in both mind and body, so to do that with your friends and family is a very rewarding experience. Football can be a positive social event, and the highlight of your week. It builds new relationships, enhances energy levels and gives individuals the chance to play out their dreams!

To attract new clubs we provide support with coach education and assist with finding a pitch to play or train on. We also offer our experience and guidance with Football Foundation ‘Grow the Game’ applications, which provide cash to help cover the costs of setting-up new teams. We can help form club structures and supply information on local leagues.

Existing clubs also receive a great deal when they renew their affiliation each season, including access to the rewards of FA Charter Standard status, an accreditation scheme which raises standards and supports development by recognising and rewarding clubs and leagues for their commitment and achievements. We also provide a disciplinary structure and insurance.

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how we lead in football

importance of Respect

When successfully promoted leagues and clubs can recruit and retain more referees, players and teams by providing a more enjoyable playing environment.

Football is for all and should be enjoyed in a safe, fun and inclusive environment, where you and I can play our part. We want to embed Respect right the way through Essex football.