Durham FA reduces spectator numbers to 150 in bid to halt rise in Covid-19 cases

Durham FA has today told affiliated clubs – including Consett – that they cannot have more than 150 spectators at games, in a bid to try to stem the rise in coronavirus cases.

It has issued a joint statement with Northumberland FA, after working closely with local authorities across the area, which means we can no longer have 300 spectators at games.

The DFA statement said: “It has become clear that the resurgence of Covid-19 infections are strongly related to social gatherings that do not abide by guidance provided, especially regarding travel, social distance, washing of hands and face coverings, especially in hospitality areas.

“Although it is recommended that spectators do not attend games, we have acted to address this position, while keeping participants actively playing football on the pitch wherever we can.

“It is imperative that you do not attend or participate if you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, are awaiting a test result or are part of a household which is self-isolating. Please remember to consider Government messaging regarding ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ Whenever possible.

The following restrictions will apply from midnight on Thursday 24 September to all football affiliated with Northumberland FA and Durham County FA.

These restrictions are above and beyond central FA guidance on the Return to Football which must be adhered to.

  • At all levels of football the NHS QR code or similar must be displayed, and all in attendance must scan on entry or provide contact details.
  • Reduction of spectators: Numbers do not exceed 15% of the minimum ground grading capacity – at our level this means 150, the same as we were allowed for our friendly with Morpeth Town.
  • All spectators should wear face coverings at all times, as stated in line with government advice.
  • Clubhouses/bars: It is strongly advised that these remain closed one hour before kick-off, and remain closed until one hour after the final whistle.
  • When open, clubs must comply with all Government and local authority regulations, including social distancing and table service requirements.
  • Government guidance states that food and drink can be served outside in an open space if the club’s licence permits.
  • Changing facilities may remain closed where the facility owner deems this to be necessary.
  • All training must take place without spectators.

Durham County FA’s chief executive John Topping said: “As we are all aware, the North East of England has been placed under local restrictions following the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, which has mainly arose due to social gatherings.

“These restrictions have impacted on many people and are also having a detrimental effect on their health and well-being.

“Following positive meetings between Durham County FA, Northumberland FA, the Football Association, local authorities and other organisations, we are delighted to announce that a return to football with necessary restrictions in place can commence from Friday 25 September 2020.

“I am sure all will agree that a return to playing football is beneficial for all, but we MUST adhere to guidelines put in place so that we do not end up with a total lockdown of football. The position is scheduled to be reviewed on 7 October.”

Gary Welford