Statement on Behalf of The Cumberland FA, Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth football League, Penrith & District Junior Football League and West Cumbria Youth Football League
Coronavirus and Local Grassroots Youth Football within the County
Following the latest Government advice as to how we move into the delay stage of tackling coronavirus and subsequent football specific guidance received from The Football Association. Cumberland FA and the 3 youth leagues from across the county have spoken to agree what we believe to be a balanced and proportional response that is in the best interests of the grassroots game.
At this stage the suggestion from Government is that there is, at present, no rationale to close or cancel sporting events.
However, despite the above, it is recognised that there are concerns, particularly given the fact that a player, who attends Trinity School, has tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Following communication between all establishments it was felt that clear and sensible steps should be put in place to try and reduce any fears for the good of the local communities in what the PM is describing as “the worst public health crisis for a generation”.
Therefore all 3 youth leagues have agreed, in line with the latest government advice, that any club or team that is effected by the virus (i.e. has a player, coach, parent or significant other linked to the team have to go into self-isolation) can request a 7 day period of grace from the league on health grounds, without fear of fines or further repercussions. How this is managed will be down to the respective organisations, but relevant leagues and the CFA should be alerted at the earliest opportunity.
Furthermore due to the possibility of the potential spread from the confirmed cases involving the teacher and subsequently a pupil/player. Cumberland FA will be suspending all youth county cup fixtures this weekend (14th/15th) and The Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth Football League, Penrith and District Junior Football League and West Cumbria Youth Football Leagues will be taking the action of suspending all youth fixtures for 7 days (starting Friday 13/03/2020) in order to reduce any unnecessary risk in spreading this virus. During this time clubs from these league are also instructed to also cancel any coaching activities and to not participate in any friendly games as a form of self-imposed isolation.
All Clubs are asked to keep up to date with and follow Government and Public Health England Guidance including:
• Promoting best practice for hygiene, ensuring cleaning is effective and saps are provided (and sanitiser where possible) at clubs sites and at matches/training etc.
• Anyone with a “new, continuous” or persistent cough or high temperature (above 37.8 C) to self-isolate for seven days
• Clubs are advised that if any spectator or club member presents to a club member of staff with possible flu-like symptoms they should be encouraged to leave, return home and go online to www.111.nhs.uk for further advice (do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital).
• Schools are being asked not to take trips abroad so clubs should consider this advice and certainly follow Foreign Office advice.
NHS advice and guidance
Clubs and teams who are playing are also asked to ensure that they follow their designated League or The CFAs policy to remove or amend (fist bumps/elbow bumps) the procedural pre/post-match handshake
This situation is obviously an everchanging environment and therefore as a County FA and youth league committees we will continue to work together, monitor and react to guidance from the government, health authorities and National FA with regards to undoubted future action around the grassroots game.
It is important to keep in mind that none of us are medical experts and, like yourselves, are dealing with something which is unprecedented. We are all therefore doing what we believe to be in the best interests of grassroots football and those involved within Cumberland, in line with expert guidance and guidelines.
For some this may feel like an overreaction. And clearly we would rather that this were the case as this is certainly a better outcome than feeling we have not done enough.
Finally and most importantly our thoughts and best wishes go to the young player who has tested positive and their family at what must be a difficult time. We wish them a speedy recovery.
Cumberland FA, Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth football League, Penrith & District Junior Football League and West Cumbria Youth Football League
12 March 2020