FAW confirms suspension of grassroots football during ‘fire break’ lockdown
The Football Associations of Wales (FAW) has confirmed the return of grassroots football will be put on hold from Friday while the country enters a 17-day lockdown period.
A short, sharp “fire-break” is being introduced across Wales at the end of this week to help regain control of coronavirus, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Monday.
The fortnight-long action is needed to “save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.” He said.
The fire-break will start at 6pm on Friday 23 October and end on Monday 9 November.
It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are currently in force.
The FAW said yesterday is was awaiting further details on what the full impact of the fire break period would have on their ‘Return to Play Protocols’ which has seen teams return to training and in some cases friendly matches taking place.
This weekend would have seen the resumption of competitive academy football for ages 12 and 13’s for the first time in seven months.
The FAW has issued a statement this afternoon, confirming what many had already expected, the association said:
- All activity detailed in the FAWs Return to Play Protocols will be suspended during this period.
- Clubs with a sufficient amount of professional players, coaches and operational staff in the JD Cymru Premier – as defined by the Welsh Government guidelines – will have their fixtures re-arranged to allow them to continue playing against each other. A revised television schedule for these matches will be published on CymruFootball.Wales in due course.
- Due to the suspension of the ‘elite programme’, the JD Cymru Premier will postpone all matches involving non-professional clubs during this period. Training during this time is also not permitted – Connah’s Quay Nomads have postponed three matches as a result, they are against Newtown, The New Saint and Penybont.
- All Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League matches during this period will be postponed. Training during this time is also not permitted.
“The FAW urges everyone to follow the Welsh Government guidelines during the firebreak lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The FAW said it is “currently seeking clarification from the Welsh Government on the level of restrictions that will be in place following the end of this lockdown period, in order to ascertain what football activity can resume from 9 November.”
During a press conference yesterday first minister Mark Drakeford was asked to clarify the Welsh government position on outdoor sports in respect of the two-week fire break lockdown.
As an example, “children can go to school up to year eight and mingle indoors but they can’t walk to their local rugby club to play outdoor sport together?
Is that is that the position and if so, what’s the logic in that?” Channel 4’s Andy Davies asked.
Mr Drakeford said: “That is the position and the logic … the [fire break] will never work if what we get is a stream of questions that says, Why isn’t there an exception for this? Why isn’t there an exception for that? That is not the way in which a circuit breaker – firebreak period will work.”
“Every single thing that we cut down on, however small it may be, will help to make a difference and that will have to include outdoor sports.”
“It is always possible to make a case for something on its own but that is to miss the point to have a fire break period.”
During the first lookdown in March, many clubs adapted quickly and set up fitness sessions by using video conferencing tools like Zoom.
The Welsh government has said outdoor exercise will still be permitted during the fire break period, this should be undertaken locally – from home or as close as possible to the home.
In general this should not involve people driving to a location away from home for this purpose.
You can leave home as often as you like to exercise as long as you do so from home and alone or with members of your household (and/or a carer).
You can find more information on the Welsh Government’s firebreak FAQs.
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