Following government advice Football NSW have outlined its return to action

Football NSW has outlined the return to football activities in the state from Monday, October 11, based on the Public Health Order (PHO) issued by the NSW Government on October 4, press releases issued by the NSW Government since then, and guidance provided by the NSW Office of Sport.

Sutherland Sharks FC. Picture: Football NSW.

Sutherland Sharks FC. Picture: Football NSW.

That have advised that an outdoor public gathering for sport or exercise - including football training - may take place provided that:

  • People aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated or have a valid medical exemption (Medical Certificate required). There is no requirement for people attending aged under 16 to be vaccinated;
  • There are no more than 30 people involved - including participants, coaches and officials, and parents or spectators (Football NSW encourages parents to not participate as part of a training group where possible);
  • All clubs, associations and centres are expected to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for all gatherings of the above nature from October 11. As part of a COVID-19 Safety Plan, anyone attending must:
    • Check-in using a Service NSW QR Code; and
    • Use of change rooms or communal facilities (e.g. gyms) subject to 1 person per 4 square metre rule, and masks are required to be worn in all indoor settings.
  • Check-in using a Service NSW QR Code; and
  • Use of change rooms or communal facilities (e.g. gyms) subject to 1 person per 4 square metre rule, and masks are required to be worn in all indoor settings.
  • The minimum space recommended for 30 participants is approximately 50 x 30 metres which equates to one-quarter of a football pitch.
  • A club can divide each pitch into up to four segments and ensure that no more than 30 people are in each quarter at any one time. That is, a maximum of 120 people can be on a full-size pitch that has been subdivided into four quarters.
  • If there are multiple groups training at the same time, the groups should not mix at any time.
  • Football NSW recommends that clubs nominate a jacketed official who will act as a COVID-19 Marshal at each training session. The Marshal's role will be to remind people of their responsibilities to follow these guidelines.
  • Recommencement of training remains subject to current local government area (LGA) guidelines and/or restrictions.

For indoor recreation facilities - e.g. Futsal - a group class or other group activity - including training - may occur provided that:

  • The occupier of the facility must not allow more than 20 people to attend a group class or other group activity at the facility;
  • Multiple group activities of up to 20 people may take place within an indoor recreation facility provided the facility complies with the PHO;
  • The occupier of the facility must not allow the total of more than 1 person per 4 square metres;
  • People aged 16 and over must be fully vaccinated or must have a valid medical exemption (Medical Certificate required). There is no requirement for people aged under 16 to be vaccinated.;
  • The operator of the facility must have a 'Gyms and indoor recreation' COVID-19 Safety Plan in place;
  • The occupier of the premises must take reasonable steps to ensure that all participants check-in via the Service NSW App and that no unvaccinated adults (aged 16 years and over) are on the premises;
  • Indoor group activity does NOT include futsal friendly/trial matches or competitions;
  • Note that all indoor facilities require a mask to be worn unless engaged in physical exercise.
Rockdale Ilinden FC. Picture: Football NSW.

Rockdale Ilinden FC. Picture: Football NSW.

Clubs and associations are expected to take all reasonable steps to ensure participants; are vaccinated, that they check-in using a Service NSW QR Code, and are compliant with the PHOs.

Visit the NSW Government factsheet on Vaccination compliance and obligations for more information.

It is also the responsibility of those participating in any gathering to comply with the vaccination or medical exemption requirements, and to obey the PHOs at all times.

Volunteers must not get involved in confrontations or be subjected to physical or verbal abuse for trying to keep participants safe and compliant.

If individuals are not complying with the PHOs, it is a matter for the police.

Football NSW insurances only apply to sanctioned football activities while those activities and while participants are compliant with the PHOs.

Participants who are injured while participating during a sanctioned football activity are covered by the Football NSW personal injury insurance for injuries sustained as a result of football participation (subject to policy terms and conditions), however, claims related to COVID-19 are an exclusion under those policies.

The above guidelines cover the period from Monday, October 11, through until NSW hits the 80% double dose vaccination milestone, after which a new PHO will apply and further guidelines will be issued by Football NSW.

At the time of writing, no organised community sport competitions or programs are permitted to take place until the first Monday after NSW hits the 80 per cent double dose vaccination milestone for those aged 16 and above (currently expected to be Monday, October 25, 2021).

In the case of football, organised community sport competitions or programs include, but are not limited to, friendly matches, intraclub matches, leagues, trials, internal games, or similar.

Football NSW will produce further updates in the lead up to the 80% double dose vaccination being achieved and/or following any changes to Public Health Orders.