Coronavirus Update.

The latest from the NPL following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The NPL together will all other Alliance leagues and representatives of Step 5-6 leagues met with the FA executive on Wednesday March 11.

At this point there are no plans to cancel, postpone or to play games behind closed doors.

Although the situation remains fluid and government guidance could change at any point, all games at Steps 1-4 will go ahead as planned unless external forces dictate otherwise.

The NPL will continue to liaise with the governing body to provide necessary leadership.

In the meantime, the NPL would reiterate the guidance issued through the Chief Medical Officer.

For those hosting events:

• PHE guidance should be read and followed

• For those travelling to sporting events overseas or returning from overseas to sports
events, the Foreign Office’s travel advice should be read and followed

• Promote best practice for hygiene, ensuring cleaning is effective and soaps are provided
(and sanitiser where possible)

• Anyone with flu symptoms should avoid the risk of spreading their infection, whatever
that infection may be, by staying at home and recovering

• Clubs are advised that if any spectator presents to a club member of staff with possible
flu-like symptoms they should be encouraged to leave, return home and call NHS 111 for
further advice

• For those hosting sporting events, whatever their size, attendees and participants should
stay up to date on the government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus.

I can’t understand why the F.A. seem fit to call games off at one level, and not at other levels?


The NPL board has decided that all games will go ahead this weekend.
Further to our communication of yesterday regarding the Coronavirus crisis, and following the Premier League and EFL deciding to pause the season until April 9th , the NPL has today been in discussion with the National, Southern and Isthmian Leagues to try and agree a common approach, but this did not prove possible.

The FA has today stated that it is each League’s decision as to what approach it wishes to take, so each league at Steps 3 & 4 will do what it believes best for its member clubs.

Accordingly, and in common with the National League, the NPL’s board has decided that all matches will go ahead this weekend, with future fixtures being reviewed on Monday 16th March.

Our primary concern, as always, is to protect the financial stability of our 62 clubs. This means playing as many games as we can, so long as clubs wish to do so. This is not contrary to the League’s and clubs’ duty of care considerations to players, officials or supporters but, in a season where clubs have been severely impacted by weather-related postponements, the NPL board believes that pausing the season right now would prove disastrous for many clubs.

The situation is changing daily, so our approach to Covid-19 must be flexible, recognising the very genuine concerns around the health of players, officials and supporters.

The NPL has consistently urged clubs to follow government advice, which is that football matches should go ahead as planned for now. Having carefully weighed up all options, and mindful that we are between a rock and a hard place on this issue, all NPL matches will therefore go ahead as planned this weekend unless a club is directly affected by players, referees or volunteers who are self-isolating or have serious concerns.

Clubs have been issued with further guidance and instruction.

The NPL acknowledges this is not a decision that will meet with universal approval. Although our current stance may have to be reviewed as events escalate, it will be business as usual for as long as possible.

Events will only escalate when people make rash decisions like this. Considering the normal age group of supporters watching our league games, I am amazed at this decision. Hopefully, I am wrong and the NPL are right!