Milton Keynes Irish Football Club Safe Return to Football Policy


In response to the announcement on Friday 17th July 2020 allowing competitive grassroots football to return. Milton Keynes Irish FC have analysed the F.A.’s published guidelines and produced the below policy to ensure adherence to the new guidelines and also to ensure safety of players, staff, officials and eventually spectators. The policy will also be backed up by a series of individual risk assessments which will be continuously reviewed and the policy updated where necessary.

Every club has been instructed to appoint a Covid-19 officer. The role of this person is to remain familiar with the most up to date FA guidance and ensure this is communicated throughout coaches, players, club officials and supporters. The appointed Covid-19 officers for Milton Keynes Irish FC are Michael O’Hanlon for Manor Fields site and Alexander Russon for Walnut Tree site, and their contact details are to be found at the end of this document. Many of the directives issued are legislative and there are some that are advisory which Milton Keynes Irish FC have included in this policy for best practice and again, to ensure safety is at the top of the priority list. It is also important to note that this policy/guidance has been produced to allow football to take place at Milton Keynes Irish FC sites and does not supersede any further guidance or rules put in place by competition authorities. The guidance following is FOR ALL players, coaches, club officials, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers and spectators. There are three definitive sections which will cover all of the match day protocol as directed by The FA:




It is vital that all 3 parts of this document are read by anyone visiting Milton Keynes Irish FC sites as they apply to all clubs returning to football and are put in place to protect everyone.


Covid-19 is a highly infectious and dangerous disease. A resumption of contact play is only achievable if those involved create and maintain a controlled environment that minimises the threat of infection. Risk in sport cannot be completely eradicated but with caution and care these risks can be reduced. All those returning to competitive grassroots football must adapt the following F.A code of behaviour:

Be aware of your own personal health. If you show any of the covid-19 symptoms you must stay at home, inform the NHS test and trace and seek medical advice. 

Be responsible. Read the guidance provided by the F.A and your club so that you are aware of the changes to the game and what is expected of you.

Practise good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and before, during and after a game. 

Where possible maintain social distancing. This will not always be possible in a competitive match environment and that is acceptable. However, before and after a game you should maintain social distancing. 

Support NHS test and trace. You’re likely to be asked to provide your details so that in the event of a covid-19 outbreak those potentially infected can be traced. This is to everyone’s benefit so please co-operate. 

Do not spit. Spitting and the rinsing out of mouths is now a recognised risk to the health and must not be done. Avoid shouting or raising your voice if face to face with other players.

Changing Rooms Before the Match
Officials –
Where possible officials should arrive in kit however officlals changing rooms can be

used singlely.

Players – A maximum of eight participants are allowed to get changed in the changing room at one time. Before the match the players plus the manager will be allowed to have team talks if absolutely necessary but then should wait in the changing room until the bell rings. The officials should leave for the pitch first, followed by the away team and finally the home team.

To avoid time spent indoors, where possible and where weather permits. Team talks should take place outside.

The exchange of team sheets will follow the guidelines of the respective competition.


Optional Test and Trace forms will be completed by spectators and players/officials, alternatively a NHS QR code can be used on entry. Social distancing should be maintained and seating signed ‘not in use’ as appropriate.

For grassroots football (Athletic and Sunday teams), spectators are allowed as long as they maintain social distancing. As soon as this changes this document will be updated.


In line with current government guidance, all participates (players, coaches, club officials, match officials’ volunteers and spectators) should self-check for symptoms of covid-19. No- one should leave home to participate in football if they, or anyone live with, has any of the following:


If an individual is symptomatic and/or living in a household with a possible covid-19 infection they should remain at home and follow government guidance.

Travelling to the match All participants and other attendees should follow best practice for travel, including minimising use of public transport. Participants should walk or cycle if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle. If participants do have to travel with people outside their household or support bubble they should try to:

Share the transport with the same people each time; Keep to small groups of people at any one time;
Open windows for ventilation;
Face away from each other;

Clean the car between journeys using standard cleaning products – including door handles and other areas that people may touch;
Ask the driver and all passengers to wear a face covering;
Consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle – this may mean using more than one coach or minibus if possible, and the wearing of face coverings on coaches or minibuses;

Require regular hand sanitisation by passengers on a coach or minibus;
Limit the time spent at garages, petrol stations and motorway services;
Keep distance from other people and if possible, pay by contactless;Wash hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise hands often, and always when exiting or re- entering the vehicle;

When finishing the journey participants should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise their hands as soon as possible.

Upon arrival

Upon arrival at the all participants will be required to adhere to the systems in place and general movement around the ground following relevant signage in place. All attendees should follow best practice and wash their hands upon arrival for at least 20 seconds or sanitise immediately with the sanitiser provided at the gate, at all times observe the 1-meter social distancing guidance.

Everyone who enters the centre will be required to provide name and contact details to support the NHS test and trace. This information will be held for 21 days in line with the government recreational team sport framework in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. We would advise that this list is prepared before arrival. NHS app can also be used in lieu of paper form.

Toilets will be available and clearly signposted. Please ensure the practice of social distancing. For matches, all players, club staff and officials could undergo a temperature check before being allowed to take part. If a temperature is too high, the participant will be asked to return to their vehicle for ten minutes before returning for a second measure. Anyone showing over after the second attempt will be asked to leave.

Changing Rooms Before the Match

OfficialsWhere possible officials should arrive in kit however officlals changing rooms can be

used singlely.

PlayersA maximum of eight participants are allowed to get changed in the changing room at one time. Before the match the players plus the manager will be allowed to have team talks if absolutely necessary but then should wait in the changing room until the bell rings. The officials should leave for the pitch first, followed by the away team and finally the home team.

To avoid time spent indoors, where possible and where weather permits. Team talks should take place outside.

The exchange of team sheets will follow the guidelines of the respective competition.


Social Distancing in Competitive Training

Competitive training can take place for all participants, in an outdoor setting .

The individual teams will decide the appropriate ratio of coaches to participants, following the current FA safeguarding policy outlined in safeguarding guidance notes 5.5. Sessions might include multiple groups of 30 but only if they can be appropriately socially distanced from each other.
In all settings before and after the session, and in any breaks, all participants should practice social distancing, in line with Government guidelines on two metres or ‘one metre plus’.

Any spectators at training sessions (including parents and carers) must be restricted in line with wider government guidance, ensuring space for officials, coaches and substitutes.

Social Distancing Around Matches

Competitive match play is now permitted, however, in all settings before and after matches all participants should practice social distancing

Covid-19 modifications in matches

Pre-match handshake should not happen. Instead players will be asked to hand-sanitise before kick-off.
Team talk huddles should not take place. Team talks can take place as long as social- distancing is observed.

Warm-ups/cool downs should always observe social distancing.

Coaches, other team staff and substitutes are allowed, but must always observe social distancing on touch lines/dug-outs. Social distancing must also be observed during interactions when a substitution is being made. The small stand can be used to allow distancing away from dug-outs.

Set plays free kicks/corners: referees and coaches should encourage players to get on with the game and not unnecessarily prolong set-up such as defensive walls to limit the prolonged close marking. Goal posts should be wiped down before matches and after matches. Excessive goal celebrations should be avoided.

Interactions with referees and match assistants should only happen with players observing social distancing.

Social distancing during breaks (e.g. half time)

During breaks and half-time all participants must remain socially distanced. Coaching staff and substitutes should for example, spread out and avoid sharing a dug out or bench if social distancing cannot be observed. Water bottles or other refreshment containers should in no circumstances be shared. Participants are advised to bring their own drinks or refreshments, in a named container. After activity participants must maintain government mandated social distancing for social interaction. This will include the use of the changing rooms or showers if required, and clubhouse facilities participates congregate in afterwards.

Use of Equipment

The sharing of equipment must be avoided where possible. Where equipment is to be shared, equipment must be cleaned before use by another person. Used kit for home teams should be placed in the baskets provided. Persons handling the soiled kit must use gloves, wash their hands and sanitise immediately after, or appropriate arrangements made for the cleaning of the kit.

Ball transfer

The nature of football means that the ball is not frequently handled. When the ball goes out of play it should not be retrieved by non-participants and should be retrieved using the feet rather than the hands where possible.


There is an additional risk of infection in close proximity situations where people are shouting or conversing loudly. This particularly applies indoors (e.g. inside clubhouses) and when face to face. If possible, players should therefore avoid shouting or raising their voices when facing each other during, before and after games. This is included within The FA’s Code of Behaviour.


Everyone should refrain from spitting. If you need to sneeze or cough, you are encouraged to do so into a tissue or upper sleeve and advised to avoid touching your face. Ensure any tissues are disposed of in a sealed bin as soon as possible.

Treatment of Injuries

Milton Keynes Irish FC’s appointed first-aiders will follow the FA’s First Aid Guidance. Injuries during play should still be treated as participant health and safety is of utmost importance. In all cases but particularly where medical treatment is needed, the best form of protection is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene. An increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and equipment, using standard household cleaning and disinfection products, will be recommended as per The FA’s supporting medical guidance. If a participant gets injured, a member of their household can assist if present and appropriate, but others (including match officials and teammates and coaches) will still need to socially distance unless a life- or limb- threatening injury necessitates compromising guidelines to provide emergency care.

Where there is a first-aider or other medical personnel present, they should be equipped with the appropriate PPE (including face coverings) to protect themselves and others if they need to compromise social-distancing guidelines to provide medical assistance.

After contact with an injured participant, the person who has administered first aid should clean their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. This advice is applicable to all situations, regardless of whether there was close contact or social distancing was maintained. The first aider should also avoid touching their mouth, eyes and nose. Physios or their equivalent or anyone who is administering any form of treatment, should keep a record of each participant they have come into contact with for NHS test and trace purposes. If a participant becomes Covid-19 symptomatic during the activity, they should immediately remove themselves from the session and return home as quick as possible.

Milton Keynes Irish FC have a first aid room available however those wishing to use it should wait outside until called in by the physio.

Players That Leave the Field (Sub or Sending Off)

Any player who is subbed or sent off should return to the changing rooms immediately to get showered (if applicable) and changed.


Hands should be washed at the earliest opportunity and personal equipment should be wiped down with a disinfectant.

Changing Rooms After the Game

Officials – There is one shower inside the match officials changing room allowing for change and shower whilst sticking to social distancing.

PlayersOnly two people should use the shower room at a time. As before the game, best efforts should be made to ensure the changing rooms do not have too many inside at once. This should be dictated by the manager. For the home team, used football kit should be placed in the baskets provided. This will allow a single person to load the kit into the club’s washing machines using the correct PPE. If a player/parent feels they need to take the kit home they should communicate with the respective manager for arrangements. Whilst the guidance advises own kits should be washed; the teams are not supplied with their own individual kit (apart from Sunday team) so it would deem appropriate for the kit to remain washed at the club to avoid contamination.

After matches participants and attendees must maintain government mandated social distancing for social interaction. This includes any available changing rooms, showers, and clubhouse facility. Whilst the current restrictions are in place, the club are not providing post-match food for preseason friendlies. Away teams will be given choice of staying for food during season.

Payment of Fees

Where possible payment of fees will be put in cash bags to avoid excessive handling.

Covid Officers:

Michael O’Hanlon – 07801133547 – Alex Russon – 07568145929 –

Milton Keynes Irish FC would like to thank you in advance for your assistance and that we pull through this unusual time together.

Policy approved by committee of Milton Keynes Irish FC

Version 4 : 24 July 2021