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BAFA return to play moves to stage 4 on the 3rd October (England and Wales only)

Friday, October 2, 2020

Message from Chief Executive Pete Ackerley

I’m pleased to confirm that as planned BAFA is now moving to stage 4 of our return to play roadmap in England and Wales from Saturday 3 October.

Unfortunately, the move to stage 4 does not apply in Scotland just yet. However, we are anticipating approval of our stage 4 guidance by sportscotland shortly and will update on this as soon as we can.

Stage 4 key points to note

  • Maximum of 30 participants in a wholly separate practice or play group per half full-sized pitch
  • Non-contact only practice and play
  • Inter-club non-contact friendly games may now be organised between local teams
  • All activity should take place outdoors
  • Equipment sharing permitted but should be kept to a minimum wherever possible

Please read our detailed stage 4 guidance for England and Wales for more information on what is required. Differences from stage 3 guidance are highlighted in yellow.

Non-contact game activity between teams

We are prevailing on the good common sense of our clubs to risk assess what is appropriate when it comes to organising friendly non-contact games and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of their members at all times.

For planning purposes, we advise clubs to stay within their own or their neighbouring local authority region, and not to travel outside of their home nations. The exception to this would be where clubs are located on neighbouring border areas between home nations.

Game activity between two teams does not require BAFA sanction – however any plans for activity involving multiple teams and games on the same day, such as a tournament, must be sanctioned by BAFA before taking place. To request sanction, please contact detailing your plans, venue, the teams involved and attaching a copy of your risk assessment for the event. Please give at least 14 days’ notice for approval.

We appreciate organising non-contact game activity may not always be straight forward, and there are some BAFA clubs who are geographically isolated and their nearest teams – particularly for some formats of our sport such as women’s and U19 football – may be some distance. Although frustrating, we would advise teams in these circumstances to exercise extreme caution and discuss any game plans with us via

Local restrictions

I would also ask all our clubs to keep themselves up to date on any enhanced restrictions in their local area, particularly related to travel.

To find out where local restrictions are in place, and what these restrictions are, refer to the local restrictions page on the government’s website which is being kept constantly updated. This details local lockdowns in England, but also link to local lockdown information for Scotland and Wales.

You should regularly consult  local guidance for further clarification on the number of people allowed to gather, and types of activities that can and can’t take place and whether travel is permitted into or out of your area. If specific restrictions are introduced on the playing of team sports they will be noted on the local restrictions page of the government’s website.

Help support track and trace

Finally, I would urge all BAFA members in England and Wales to download the NHS Covid-19 app, and all members in Scotland to download the Protect Scotland app. These are important tools designed to support trace and trace endeavours and help control the spread of the virus.

As always, if you have any questions relating to our return to play guidance, please contact in the first instance.

Stay safe.