Lancashire FA confirms all grassroots football can immediately restart in parts of the county
Grassroots football in Central and East Lancashire can "immediately restart", the Lancashire FA has announced.
The Lancashire Football Association made the announcement grassroots football can "immediately restart" in Pendle, Burnley, Hyndburn, Rossendale, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Preston and South Ribble today (Tuesday, December 15).
This decision was taken in partnership with Public Health in Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, Public Health England and the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF).
A spokesman on behalf of the LRF said: "Training, matches and tournaments are able to resume once again thanks to strengthened control measures and guidance, which will reduce the risks we'd previously identified.
"These have been introduced since the first decision was taken to temporarily pause the game, and will help to give greater confidence that any significant activity-related Covid transmission will be identified, managed and contained, reducing the risk of passing it on.
"There are several factors which have been considered in reaching the conclusion to restart. The 16-29-year-old rates were increasing or unstable in some of Lancashire's districts in early December. They have now reduced in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Rossendale.
"With schools about to finish for the Christmas holidays, the risk of spreading Covid without symptoms is considered to be lower. This will be kept under review as schools return in 2021."
The decision to suspend grassroots football activity was taken on December 4 following "lengthy, detailed conversations" with Public Health for Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, Public Health England, the LRF and Lancashire Police.
Since the suspension, Lancashire FA say they have been in constant dialogue with all parties, as well as national stakeholders including the FA and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
All parties have actively collaborated to share research and perspectives to identify methods to mitigate the risks originally identified.
This has enabled a change in health advice leading to today's announcement of the resumption of football activity.
Roger Haydock, Chairman of Lancashire FA, said: "As Chair of the Lancashire Football Association, I speak on behalf of the entire Board of Directors to emphasise our unwavering support for the Chief Executive Officer, Simon Gerrard.
"Simon always prioritises the safety of our footballing and wider community, and has worked tirelessly in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and health professionals to find solutions to ensure the game can be brought back safely.
"Placed in an unprecedented situation and faced with professional medical advice that simply could not be ignored, Simon acted diligently and responsibly.
"We are extremely grateful for his leadership of this complex situation, and glad to see this hard work has resulted in a resumption of the game."
Lancashire FA said they will be working with leagues, clubs and referees to support compliance with the FA guidelines, and will be issuing further guidance in the New Year around reporting tools to ensure that any non-compliance can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis "quickly and efficiently".
Football will need to strictly operate under the national guidelines provided by the FA.
To find out more about the announcement, click HERE.
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