Football Federation Australia CEO James Johnson confirmed on Monday that football will continue to be played around the country, outlining a number of guidelines participants should adhere too.
Taking effect as of today (Monday, March 16), Johnson outlined some key guidelines to help participants take extra precautions and preventative measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Read Johnson’s thoughts below and the full list of guidelines and advice.
"Football Federation Australia (FFA) continues to take the health and safety of football participants including players, coaches, officials, staff, volunteers and fans, across all levels of the game very seriously.
"As you are no doubt aware, COVID-19 is a quickly-evolving global situation.
"FFA has been and will continue to closely monitor all COVID-19 developments in consultation with the Federal Government as well as through the National COVID-19 Working Committee, which was established last week to address the threat of COVID-19 to football in Australia, comprising representatives from FFA, the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League, State Body Members and Professional Footballers Australia.
"A copy of the outcome of the group’s first meeting was communicated via press release on Friday,13 March 2020. FFA is aware that since Friday’s update, many members of the football community have expressed concerns as to whether football in Australia should continue to be played at this time.
"The National COVID-19 Working Committee met on 15 March 2020 to discuss the latest COVID-19 developments and to consider the latest advice from the Federal Government and the Chief Medical Officer. After careful consideration and consistent with that advice, FFA advises that football may continue to be played across Australia at this time.
"In doing so, participants should adhere to the guidelines attached to this circular which are designed to assist participants take extra precautions and preventative measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
"FFA acknowledges that each Competition Administrator may, in response to the exceptional circumstances posed by COVID-19, take decisions based on the facts and circumstances relevant to their Competition and consistent with their competition rules and the National Registration Regulations (for example, where a match should be rescheduled if a team cannot participate as a result of the unavailability of players due to COVID-19).
"Getting the latest information FFA encourages all Members, Competition Administrators, Clubs and participants to seek guidance before making decisions regarding football activities. For the latest information on COVID-19, please refer to the following:
- World Health Organisation - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus2019
- Department of Health - https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus2019-ncov
- State and Territory Health Agencies - www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts
- Australian Institute of Sport - www.ais.gov.au/health-wellbeing/covid-19
- Smart Traveller - https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-andupdates/coronavirus-covid-19
- Home Isolation Guidance - https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronaviruscovid-19-isolation-guidance
- Coronavirus Hotline - 1 800 675 398
"FFA is actively monitoring updates and is committed to making decisions in relation to COVID-19 and its impact on football activity based on the advice from the Federal Government. FFA will continue to provide updates on its position to the football community as the latest information becomes available."
To read the COVID-19 update, CLICK HERE.
COVID-19 Guidelines for Football
All football participants must play a role if we are to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including people organising, attending or supporting attendance at football activities.
Effective 16 March 2020, the following guidelines should be adhered to for all football activities, including training and matches.
1. Before participating in football activities
Participants should not present to participate in football if they:
- (a) have any flu-like symptoms;
- (b) have been in direct contact with a known case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
- (c) have travelled internationally or been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the preceding 14 days; or
- (d) are at a high risk from a health perspective, including the elderly and those with preexisting medical heath conditions.
2. Attendance at football activities
- Only essential participants should attend football activities, i.e. players, coaches, match officials, staff and volunteers involved in operations and parents/guardians of participants;
- Only attend as close as practical to the start of any football activity and leave as practically possible after; •
- Children to be accompanied by not more than one parent or guardian, if possible.
3. Practice social distancing at football activities
- Amend pre and post-match protocols so players and officials do not touch each other, e.g. no shaking hands, no walk out with player mascots;
- When spectating or attending at a football match/training, ensure you keep a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and others;
- Restrict access to changeroom areas to only players, officials and essential staff;
- If watching football and confined to a small area nearby other people, seek to move around the facility to avoid close contact with others.
4. Hygiene and Behaviour
- Ensure spaces at each facility, surfaces and objects are regularly cleaned with disinfectant;
- Provide hand washing guidance
- Promote regular and thorough hand washing by staff and participants;
- Provide sanitising hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the event (particularly entry or high use areas such as a registration desk, change rooms, toilets or kiosk);
- Make sure hand rub dispensers are regularly refilled.
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze;
- Provide bins and put used tissues in the bin straight away;
- Wash hands with soap and water often;
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available;
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell;
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Organisation of football activities
- Promote preventive actions amongst participants – lead by example;
- Plan ways to reduce in-person contact for participants and staff;
- Plan for increased levels of staff/volunteer absences;
- Keep volunteers, staff and participants informed of actions being taken.