AoM FC’s plan for a safe return to football

In line with the latest FA guidelines published 1st June 2020 (available here) we are looking to reintroduce football for our membership. The club committee has extensively debated the pros and cons of restarting football and have decided that we are going to trial it this weekend, in a strictly controlled manner.

We believe that the physical and mental well-being of children can be enhanced by participating in football activities and various studies have suggested the risk of contracting the virus outdoors is significantly lower than catching it indoors.

However, the safety of our players, parents and coaches is absolutely paramount and we respect that people may have different views, so there is no obligation for players, parents or coaches to attend the sessions. You will be welcome back when you feel the time is right for you.

Note – This guidance applies to Week commencing Saturday 6th June.  We will test these principles with a couple of age groups/teams in the preceding week.  We will review the activity after the weekend and consider whether to repeat in the following weekend.

A risk assessment document is available for consideration.

Under 6s to Under 10s (Boys & Girls)

Wellfield Junior School will be open on Saturday 6th June.  Each age group will have a designated start time as follows:

Age GroupStart TimeLength of sessionArrival TimeDeparture Time
U6s9am30 mins08:509:30
U7s10am40 mins09:5010:40
U8s11am40 mins10:5011:40
U9s 12noon40 mins11:5012:40
U10s1pm50 mins12:5013:50

Protocols:

These rules will be communicated by the club via email and social media but Coaches will also be expected to inform all parents of these rules in advance.

  1. No subs will be due as the club has put these on hold until September.
  1. Only 1 adult or parent should accompany the child, and every child must be have an adult with them.  Parents must ensure the child is well and has no symptoms –e.g. a cough or temperature, and that there have been no symptoms in the household for the previous 14 days.
  1. Parents will be requested not to park on Dumber Lane – please walk to the venue or park on, for example, Grosvenor road and walk through the park. 
  1. Parents with the child should access the school field via the normal entrance, and will wait in a queue observing 2m distances – this will be marked by cones.
  1. There will be 7 rectangular pitches set up across Wellfield, numbered 1 to 7, approximately 20m x 20m.  Coaches / parent helpers from the year group will have responsibility for 1 rectangle.  A number of additional coaches are on hand on the day.
  1. Each rectangle will be sub-divided into 5 channels each of 4m width– 1 for each child.  For the youngest age groups in particular it is recommended that the drills are mainly limited to activity that requires the child to stay in their own channel.  This can be relaxed a little with the older children who are more likely to observe social distancing of their own volition.
  1. At the correct time, 5 children will be sent to a rectangle, in the order in which they are in the queue (i.e. not necessarily by established teams).   The coach at the grid will receive the children, will allocate the children to a channel and introduce themselves and also ensure all children have used hand sanitizer (hand sanitizer will be available at each rectangle) 
  1. Parents are expected to go with the child to the rectangle but to adhere to social distancing rules whilst observing the session. Parents should be positioned at the head of the channel that their child is on.
  1. Parents are expected to hold onto the drinks bottle and give it to the child when advised – this reduces the risk of children picking up the wrong drinks bottle
  1. Parents will be expected to manage any situations where the child needs closer interaction, such as tying their shoelaces, so must remain in attendance at the head of the channel throughout the session.
  1. The coach will then take the session focusing on fitness, ball work, passing, dribbling and shooting (there will be one small ball per channel).  Children must not touch the ball with their hands at any point.  Some example drills will be circulated to all coaches in advance of the session.
  1. At the end of the session a whistle will be blown.  Balls should be left in the rectangle.  Children will leave the rectangle – one rectangle at a time as instructed by the coach in an orderly fashion observing a 2 metre distance and with the coach and parents, and exit the field quickly via the new gate next to the container. 
  1. The coaches for the next age group will move to a rectangle each, wipe the balls with a disinfectant wipe and be ready to start the session as above.
  1. In the event of any first aid being required it is the parent’s responsibility to administer it, supervised if necessary by the qualified coach.  Sanitiser and latex gloves and masks will be available if required to support administration of first aid to children.
  1. In the event of any persistent breach of social distancing guidelines by adults or children, they will be asked to leave the site.
  1. Coaches must ensure they are well and showing no Covid-19 symptoms and that there have been no symptoms in the household for the previous 14 days.
  1. Latex gloves will be available to wear if required but it is not expected that coaches will wear masks.
  1. The toilet will not be open for children or parents. Parents should ensure children have visited the toilet at home prior to coming to the training.

Under 11 and Above

It is up to the individual coach to decide whether they wish to take training sessions or not. There is no obligation upon them to do so.

For those who wish to re-start training, the FA guidelines have been circulated to all coaches and it is expected coaches fully adhere.  In particular the committee will note the following expectations:

  1. All children/young people must remain 2m apart
  1. Hand sanitizer must be used at the start and end of the session
  1. Where possible, players should bring their own ball to use in the session. If the ball is provided by a coach, it should be disinfected before and after the session.
  1. The ball must not be touched with hands.
  1. No more than 5 players per coach.  This will mean the same session may need to be repeated to accommodate all the children.
  1. No children or young people with symptoms should attend.
  1. Latex gloves and a mask will be made available for each coach in the event of first aid being administered.
  1. Any breach of social distancing guidelines will result in the child or young person being sent home.

The normal training venues will be used for these teams, i.e. Ashton Park, Dainewell Park, Weathercock Farm but we will ask the teams to train early in the morning to avoid the general traffic in these areas.

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