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ESFA COVID-19 UPDATE (05.01.21)

Further to yesterday's Government announcement and subsequent FA statement released yesterday (4 January), the ESFA can confirm this morning (5 January) that all schools' football activity is to be suspended in line with the new 'lockdown' restrictions in place across England.

RIP J M Henderson (Mick)

Mick was a life member of Durham County Schools’ FA.

He was as a teacher at Durham Gilesgate Junior School where he managed the school team.

Mick was well known throughout Durham County as a much respected referee. He refereed in the primary schools league but never gave his own school team an unfair advantage, despite being its manager. He took up refereeing while on National Service in 1954. He went on to referee for another 65 years, only retiring from the game last spring when, at 85, he felt he could no longer keep up with play. He was linesman at two England schoolboy internationals. He refereed many schools matches at all levels and officiated in almost all of the 21 Durham under 13 festivals of football.

Mick from Broom Park, Ushaw Moor had been around Durham County that many years he was well known and respected by so many people, he was also a gentleman and a really, really nice man.

He will be sadly missed.


U13 PlayStation FC Inter-association Trophy: Gateshead SFA won this competition for the second time when they beat Croydon SFA 7-6 on penalties after the game finished 2-2. Gateshead took the lead in the 5th minutes but were pegged back 4 minutes later. Croydon took the lead a minute into the second half but Gateshead were level by the 40th minute. After both team had taken 5 penalties it was 3-3. The hero for Gateshead was their goalkeeper who had saved 2 of the initial 5 penalties then in sudden death he saved Croydon's 10th penalty, scored Gateshead's 11th then saved Croydon's 11th spot kick.

U12 PlayStation FC 9-a-side Elite Schools' Cup: St Bede's RC (East Durham SFA) were crowned National champions by beating Whitgift School (Croydon SFA). St Bede's were losing 0-2 at half time but made it 1-2 within 3 minutes of the second half starting. Whitgift increased their lead mid way through the half. With 8 minutes of time remaining St Bede's pulled a goal back. The Peterlee school made it 3-3 with a minute to go. There was still time for Whitgift to hit the crossbar. So to penalties. Both teams successfully converted their 5 penalties but at the sixth attempt St Bede's scored and Whitgift missed thus St Bede's won 6-5.

U15 PlayStation FC Elite Schools' Cup: As this final could not be played ESFA decided that Kepier Academy (Sunderland SFA) and Torquay Boys' Grammar School (Torbay & District SFA) would be joint winners.


All documents relevant for restarting and maintaining schools’ football activity can be found on the ESFA website by using the following link. COVID-19 GUIDANCE

A summary of key points to consider from ESFA guidelines are listed for ease below:

  • Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend.
  • Associations, schools and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19.
  • Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches.
  • Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play.
  • Players and staff should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session.
  • Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play.
  • Football coaches and teachers are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training.
  • Goal celebrations should be avoided.
  • Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, teachers and coaches should only handle equipment in training.
  • Associations: Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities. Schools should follow approved guidelines relating to changing facilities regarding PE lessons and inter-school matches
  • Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.  If mini-bus or coach travel is absolutely necessary, please follow advice contained within the guidance document below
  • Associations and schools should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace.


As with all public liability policies the protection is in relation the third-party claims following injuries sustained or property damage claims. For this type of claim to be successful the claimant's solicitor would need to prove the Association had acted negligently. All risk assessments would need to be completed before events take place. For any insurance cover to be effective all activities must be in line with current guidelines, and in adherence with current Social Distancing protocols.

ESFA Evidence of Insurance document can be viewed here.



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