Football St George (FSG) provide the below information as it relates to the current COVID-19.

Subject to any further advice or updates, all games scheduled for this weekend (25 – 27 June 2021) will be played as programmed.

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Last night the NSW Government released their updated Public Health Order (PHO) – linked here.

There are restrictions that will apply to all of Greater Sydney, as defined in the map linked here: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney#greater-sydney-map

The key message is that clubs can continue to conduct football activities but that existing COVID-19 Safety Plans be reviewed and that steps are taken to ensure compliance with rules around masks, movement and social distancing.

Masks:

Anyone attending football matches or training must wear a mask.

People may remove their mask only for strenuous physical exercise (e.g. to warm up, train, play or referee), or when eating or drinking, and must put their masks back on at all other times, including spectators, coaches, managers, substitutes etc.

Similar to earlier orders, there are other exemptions that apply including for children under 12, people with autism or intellectual disabilities and other health conditions.

More detail is available here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/public-health-orders.aspx#face-coverings

Movement:

There are also restrictions on movement that people may be broadly aware of, but that we can outline in some more detail.

People who either live or work in seven named LGAs (Bayside, City of Sydney, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra) may not leave the Metropolitan area (as defined in the linked map: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney#metropolitan-sydney-map) without a “reasonable excuse” (see Schedule 1 of the PHO).

The practical meaning of this as it affects football is that if you live or work in one of these areas, you cannot play football outside of the Metropolitan area. This has particular impacts on Associations whose boundaries cross the border of Metropolitan Sydney as defined by the State Government.

There is no restriction on people entering Metropolitan Sydney from outside that area (so someone can come from the Blue Mountains to play football in Penrith, for example).

Social distancing:

Capacity restrictions now apply so that spaces must have no more than one person per 4 metres squared, and masking also applies.

Compliant use of change rooms is now likely to be impractical, and Football NSW recommends that it is a commonsense step to close change rooms.

Dugouts can again only be used with appropriate social distancing.

Local considerations:

This communication is intended to outline the things that we all must do to comply with the public health orders.

 Please note that some Associations, particularly those whose borders include one of the seven named LGAs, will need to take additional steps.

One size does not fit all and Football NSW supports Associations taking appropriate steps to manage the level of risk in their local areas. For example, some Associations may wish to consider postponing games which would result in people from outside Metropolitan Sydney coming in to that area, or people from outside the affected LGAs coming in to those areas.

We are confident that our football community will come together to ensure that we comply with these orders.

Association and club officials are not law enforcement, but we trust that everyone from players to officials to spectators will be mindful of their responsibility to our community more broadly and does the right thing.

TRAINING – The following recommendations apply to TRAINING.

  • Observe hand hygiene practices before and after participating in training.
  • Do not share drinks or drink bottles.
  • Conduct training in small groups of no more than 20 people (including coaching personnel).
  • Observe social distancing practices (1.5 metres between players) where practical.
  • Parents and spectators are discouraged from attending and remain socially distant.
  • Anyone attending football matches or training must wear a mask.
  • Minimise contact training (tackling and challenges) where possible.
  • Emphasis on non-contact skills and exercise (e.g., kicking, passing, and shooting).
  • Minimise sharing of equipment (particularly the handling of cones, ropes, weights etc)
  • Individual players wear allocated bibs and they take individual bibs home and wash them.
  • Change-rooms not used and remain closed.
  • Social activity before and after is discouraged.  We recommend arrival 15 minutes prior and departure immediately after training.

PLAYING – The following recommendations apply to PLAYING.

  • Observe hand hygiene practices before and after participating in a game.
  • No handshakes prior to the start or at the end of a match.
  • Socially distance team lines ups to occur for player ID checking.
  • Team huddles, handshakes and high-fives and multi-player celebrations are discouraged.
  • Do not share drinks or drink bottles.
  • No spitting (on or around the park or on gloves)
  • Spectators observe social distancing practices.
  • Anyone attending football matches or training must wear a mask.
  • Parents and spectators are asked to limit attendance where possible.
  • Change-rooms, including referee rooms, not used and remain closed.
  • Team benches organised to 1.5 metres between coaching staff and substitutes.
  • Social activity before and after is discouraged. We recommend arrival on-time prior and departure soon after games.
  • Clubs operating canteens and BBQs are reminded to follow their Covid-safe plans and practices.

Wear your mask, practice social distancing, and if you’re unwell, get tested and then stay home.