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What the government’s announcement means for English football as regions discover lockdown fate

We’ll take you through what the government’s announcement means for English football as regions discover their newest lockdown fate.

Boris Johnson announces that England will be going into a national lockdown – for the third time since the coronavirus crisis began.

People across the country will immediately be asked to “stay at home”, echoing the message in force back in March 2020.

1. To work if it’s impossible to work from home (for example critical and construction workers)

2. To shop for necessities including food and medicines

3. To exercise – this can include one other person outside of your household, support or childcare bubble. Ideally once a day and locally.

4. To provide care or help to a vulnerable person

5. To attend medical appointments, seek medical care or flee the threat of harm or domestic abuse


The Government says elite sports including the Premier League, EFL and National League and it’s North and South divisions WILL continue despite new lockdown rules.

The Football Association and EFL have also received assurances that elite sport go ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup and the Carabao Cup semis in midweek that they will also be exempt.

Non-elite adult football from steps three and down remains halted due to new tighter, tier 4, coronavirus restrictions.

Grassroots football will be stopped while even club’s academies at youth level and under-18s will also not be allowed to play on during the stronger rules.

Three games – Fulham’s games at Tottenham and Burnley plus Manchester City ’s trip to Everton – have been postponed in the past week while the EFL has been hit by a raft of games being called off amid fears about the FA Cup third round this weekend.

Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon were pictured at a family get together with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini while City, Fulham and Crystal Palace have all seen players flout strict lockdown rules.

The Premier League have twice written to clubs over the festive period stating that it is a must that players are reminded over their responsibility to behave well and fall into line with protocols.

Now there are stricter national lockdowns there can be no excuse and the Government are relying on football to act responsibly after being given special dispensation to carry on.

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As a result, the impact on ‘non-elite’ football in England will include the suspension of fixtures and training across the following with immediate effect:

  • Steps three to six of the National League System
  • Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid
  • Regional NLS feeder leagues
  • Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite status)
  • FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs (unless under elite status)
  • All indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football, including under-18s (except organised outdoor football for disabled people, which is allowed to continue)
  • Vitality Women’s FA Cup (which is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition)

It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the Government’s new national COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and we implore everyone to follow these. 

Dialogue will continue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, leagues, competitions and County Football Associations and we will provide further updates for the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, Buildbase FA Vase and ‘non-elite’ football when relevant.

Boris Johnson say the new variant of COVID-19 is “frustrating and alarming” given the speed it is spreading, and is between 50-70% more transmissible.

Right now, hospitals are under more pressure from coronavirus at any time since the start of the pandemic, he adds.

The number of deaths is up by 20% over the last week and will rise further, the PM warns, adding his thoughts are with all those whose relatives have or will die.

There is a particular message for those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.

They are being told to stay at home as much as possible and only leave for exercise and health appointments.

They should not go to work, even if they cannot work from home, and are urged to avoid busy places including shops and pharmacies.

His parting words are: “Thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight, but we know exactly how we will get there. But for now I’m afraid you must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”


  • All non-essential retail and personal care must close.
  • Restaurants can continue to do delivery or provide takeaways – however takeaway or click and collect of alcohol will be banned.
  • Zoos and animal attractions will close, as will all outdoor sports venues such as golf and tennis courses and gyms.
  • Outdoor team sport will not be permitted, but elite sport – for example the Premier League – can continue.
  • Playgrounds will remain open and so will places of worship.
  • Students are also being advised not to return to university, and will instead be expected to study from their current residence where possible until at least mid-February.
  • In-person teaching for students should only take place for a small number of courses (for example, critical care sectors).
  • BTec examinations taking place over the next few days will still go ahead.

Here’s some numbers you can call if you are struggling at home and need help or a chat over any concerns.

Samaritans – 116 123

CALM – 0800 58 58 58

ChildLine – 0800 1111

Anxiety UK – 03444 775 774

Mind – 0300 123 3393

With regions up and down the nation discover the latest lockdown fate, let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

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