With NSW reaching the 80% double vaccination target, an updated Public Health Order (PHO) was published, with the updated restrictions having come into effect from Monday, 18 October 2021.
Football NSW, together with our NSW sports partners, has since been successful in advocating for an increase in the limits on the number of people that are able to attend outdoor community sport and recreation activities. As a result, overnight, the NSW Government released an updated PHO.
The amendments to the PHO provide that the limit on the number of participants in a ‘COVID-19 safe outdoor public gathering for a community sporting activity’ is the lesser of 1,000 people or 1 person per 2 sqm.
Based on the current PHO and guidance from the Office of Sport, Football NSW provides this update on the conditions under which football activities can occur from Wednesday, 20 October 2021.
Outdoor recreation facilities
- Organised community sport, including club training, trials, friendly and competition matches, may now take place provided that:
- All staff, participants and spectators aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated or have been issued with a medical contraindication certificate compliant with the PHO. Note: There is no requirement for attendees aged under 16 to be vaccinated.
- Please note that under the latest amendment to the PHO, all football activities, including training sessions, are required to operate as a ‘COVID-19 safe outdoor public gathering for a community sporting activity’.
- A ‘COVID-19 safe outdoor public gathering for a community sporting activity’ must have the lesser of 1,000 people or 1 person per 2 sqm, and organisers must have a Community Sport COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. As part of a Community Sport COVID-19 Safety Plan:
- Attendance must be capped at the lesser of 1,000 people or 1 person per 2 sqm;
- COVID Safe check-ins and proof of vaccination is required for all attendees and staff using the Service NSW QR Code;
- Any use of changerooms or communal facilities (e.g. gyms) are subject to the 1 person per 4sqm rule, and masks are required to be worn in all indoor settings;
- Social distancing of 1.5 metre is required between spectators (e.g. parents).
- The NSW Government has released a Community Sport COVID-19 Safety Plan. Football NSW will shortly publish a Community Sport COVID-19 Safety Plan template for use by its stakeholders on the COVID-19 Information – Club Resources section of the Football NSW website and we will advise stakeholders once this is done. If you wish to use the one issued by the NSW Government, it is available here.
- Football NSW recommends that changerooms and/or wet areas be limited to players and team staff, with thorough cleaning taking place between users.
- Football NSW recommends that clubs nominate a jacketed official who will act as a COVID-19 Marshal at each training session. The Marshal’s role will be to remind people of their responsibilities to follow guidelines and the PHOs.
- All football activities remain subject to current local government area (LGA) guidelines and/or restrictions.
Indoor recreation facilities (e.g. Futsal)
- The return of community sport will allow for the running of futsal training, trials, friendly, and competition matches within an indoor recreation facility provided that:
- People aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated or have been issued with a medical contraindication certificate compliant with the PHO. There is no requirement for people aged under 16 to be vaccinated.
- The occupier of the facility must not allow a total of more than 1 person per 4 sqm;
- The operator of the facility must have a ‘Gyms and indoor recreation’ COVID-19 Safety Plan in place; and
- The occupier of the premises must take reasonable steps to ensure that all participants check-in via the Service NSW App and that no unvaccinated adults (aged 16 years and over) are on the premises. For example, having prominent signs stating requirements, Service NSW QR codes, staff checking vaccination status upon entry and only accepting valid forms of evidence of vaccination, or medical exemption.
- All indoor facilities require a mask to be worn unless engaged in physical exercise.
- There is no limit on gathering sizes within an indoor recreation facility except for gym and dance classes, which are limited to 20 people.
- Clubs and Associations are expected to take all reasonable steps to ensure participants; are vaccinated, that they check-in using a Service NSW QR Code, and are compliant with the PHOs. Read the NSW Government factsheet on ‘Vaccination compliance and obligations’ for more information.
- It is also the responsibility of those participating in any gathering to comply with the vaccination or medical exemption requirements, and to obey the PHOs at all times.
- Volunteers must not get involved in confrontations or be subjected to physical or verbal abuse for trying to keep participants safe and compliant. If individuals are not complying with the PHOs, it is a matter for the police.
- Football NSW insurances only apply to sanctioned football activities while those activities and while participants are compliant with the PHOs.
- Participants who are injured while participating during a sanctioned football activity are covered by the Football NSW personal injury insurance for injuries sustained as a result of football participation (subject to policy terms and conditions), however, claims related to COVID-19 are an exclusion under our policies.
The above guidelines cover the period from Tuesday, 19 October 2021 through until 1 December 2021. Football NSW will issue a further update following any changes to PHOs.
Football NSW’s latest COVID-19 updates and resources can be found on the Football NSW COVID-19 information page.
Last Updated: 21 October 2021