Good afternoon Mary

I can’t comment on what other leagues outside of Suffolk may or may not be advising member clubs, but I have been in contact with my colleagues in Essex, Cambs and Norfolk FAs. They’ve confirmed they continue to advise NLS Regional Feeder League and grassroots teams to follow The FAs grassroots guidance, which in turn advises government guidelines be followed regarding changing facilities. Government guidance continues to state “Changing rooms are an area of increased risk of transmission. It is important that social distancing is maintained in changing rooms and showers and that they are only use if essential. All venues should encourage attendees to arrive at the facility in sports kit and where possible to travel home to change/shower. Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should in general be avoided where possible, although these must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming. If changing rooms are to be used, users should use the facilities as quickly as possible.”

The National League System guidance is different, specifically stating:

“Changing rooms provide a greater risk of transmission and therefore we all need to rethink the use of these facilities. As a foundation, changing rooms should be used for changing and showering only and done so as quickly as possible. Clubs should factor staggering the use to minimise numbers. On a matchday, the home team must make provisions of priority access for the away team. Where able, clubs should seek alternative spaces for team meetings and observe social distancing, again, minimising numbers. For example, only the manager and starting 11. Indoor spaces need to have maximum ventilation as possible (such as opening windows and doors).”

I’m aware of the social media discussions regarding the use of changing facilities. It should be said that nobody is “expected to change in the open”. The grassroots guidance states “where possible, players, match officials and coaches must arrive changed and shower at home”. Some comments seem to suggest car parks are being used as a substitute facility for full-scale changing. Clearly this would be inappropriate and should not be the case.