In accordance with the spirit and parameters of both the updated government and FA guidance, meaning the validity of insurances is maintained, the below regarding the use of changing rooms will be released at 15:00 via the Suffolk FA media channels:
Understandably, the use of changing rooms has proven to be a very contested topic, in some cases causing great upset and division. The difficulties created when asking participants not to use changing rooms but arrive in match kit are numerous, and the significant steps clubs have taken to support this request have been sincerely appreciated.
In accordance with the updated FA grassroots guidance released earlier today, and the government guidance on the use of changing rooms, Suffolk FA are issuing the below conditions for the safe use of changing rooms across outdoor grassroots football to start from Friday 18th September:
- Changing rooms should only be used if absolutely essential, following agreement with the host facility, a review of cleaning requirements, and a full update of the Covid-19 risk assessment. Risk assessments should continue to be communicated to all match participants.
- Participants should continue to be asked to arrive in match kit, or at least as much match kit as possible to minimise need for and time within changing rooms.
- If participants are using changing rooms, social distancing must be observed at all times.
- A maximum of 6 people to be in a changing room at any one time, and potentially even fewer in order to observe social distancing and in accordance with the host facility risk assessment. The host facility may choose to identify the areas in which people can change by using signs or temporary bench/floor markings.
- The host facility may control the flow of traffic along walkways to changing rooms to maintain social distancing, to be determined during the host facility risk assessment process.
- Where possible and appropriate, changing rooms should be well ventilated.
- Changing rooms can be used to securely store bags during the game.
- The requirement of face coverings in changing rooms is at the discretion of the host facility. Each team and each individual also remain at liberty to wear face coverings in changing rooms if they feel appropriate.
- Hand sanitiser at least should be made available in all changing rooms.
- Participants to continue to shower at home after each game.
- The host facility should undertake enhanced cleaning to maintain hygiene standards and reduce the risk of contamination, especially where multiple teams are using the changing rooms across a day, weekend and week.
- Pre-match, halftime, and post-match team talks should continue to be held outside to allow for social distancing.
I hope this will be received as a positive step in the further return of safe grassroots football. But let’s be clear that we continue to walk a tightrope between being able to do and provide the game we love whilst minimising the risk of transmission, especially in changing rooms and showers, to the safety of all. As a football community, we must continue to support each other to diligently promote the safe and considerate continuance of the game through this most difficult and uncertain of seasons. Any future updates or changes to the above will be communicated via the Suffolk FA media channels.
Suffolk FA 17/9/2020