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Update from the FA / Northern League

Submitted by Rob Jones on Friday, 10 July 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am sure you will have seen the news regarding the various announcements that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport made at 5.00pm yesterday 09th July 2020.

This is clearly a positive step towards the resumption of the National League System. The following statement is on and you are able to send to your Clubs;

We welcome the announcement and publication of the Government’s Return to recreational sport framework today [LINK] which means we can look forward to the safe return of competitive grassroots football.

We are now working to submit a comprehensive action plan and related guidance for Government approval as outlined in DCMS’s publication.  Once approved, we will publish new guidance for the grassroots football community.  We will confirm timings as soon as we are able.  In the meantime, competitive grassroots football can prepare to return and look forward to the start of the new season.

Please continue to refer to the latest guidance documents for adult players, coaches, facility operators, parents and carers involved in re-starting grassroots football activity which came into effect from 4 July until a further update is provided [LINK], in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19 [LINK]. Please also note that guidance is being developed for clubs with teams competing in the National League System (NLS) and will be shared with those clubs directly in due course.

We know that you are waiting eagerly for the Club Guidance document. We will be looking to issue this with any headlines as soon as possible following yesterday's announcement linked to our submissions to DCMS. There are still some unique aspects to the NLS we need to get further approval from, which we continue to have dialogue with DCMS over.


The FA has released key dates for the forthcoming season.  These are subject to further approval of the Government and the Sports Ground Safety Authority:

The Ebac Northern League is at Step 5-6:

Start Dates:The following start dates are proposed for the commencement of the 2020-21 Season and conditional on Spectator Approval;

Step 5 and 6: From Saturday, 5th September 2020 **Discussions to take place with Step 5 and 6 Leagues to determine each Competition start date, noting The FA Cup EP Round will be held on Tuesday, 1st September 2020.

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round: Tuesday, 1st September 2020

FA Cup Preliminary Round:Saturday, 12th September 2020

FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round:Tuesday, 22nd September 2020

FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round:Saturday, 19th September 2020

FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round:Saturday, 10th October 2020

End date for the season: No later than Saturday, 15th May 2021