Clubs worried about being fined

Status
Not open for further replies.

Iskanderuk

Ball Boy / Girl
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
4
The Government has said that Grassroots Foootball can start again at the end of March.

Because most of this football is played in public spaces, will clubs be fined if they attract a crowd who want to watch the match and do not maintain social distancing.

My guess that they are leaving themselves open to a £10,000 fine. If this the case why is the Government encouraging clubs top braek the law?
 

jbattheground

Youth Team Sub
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
222
I really don't think it is the case and therefore I really don't think the Government is encouraging clubs to break the law.

The £10,000 fine can be contested in court and reports suggest it frequently has been, when issued.

The host club would presumably be able to show:
- That the park was a public space, and they could not control what people chose to do so.
- That what they were doing was explicitly permitted as part of (from March 29) an exception to the national Covid restrictions.
- Furthermore, from March 29th the 'Rule of 6' is allowed outdoors with mixed households, so the fact of the crowd itself is not against the law
- That any failure to maintain social distancing is the club's fault, given it is a public park (and that failure to maintain social distancing alone attracts a £10K fine, which I don't know for sure but I doubt).

All of which entirely supposes that the police bother to (erroneously) issue a fine. They mostly aim them at house parties and raves, that have been organised with sound systems. It would be a PR disaster to try and fine a pub football team, and they wouldn't do it.
 

Kirby Knitters

First Team Regular
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
3,262
Fans were not social distancing inside many grounds before the lockdown and I've not heard of any of them getting so much as a warning let alone a fine.
 

johnr

Youth Team Star
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
424
Team{s}
NUFC (retired)
Fans were not social distancing inside many grounds before the lockdown and I've not heard of any of them getting so much as a warning let alone a fine.
In my experience this was only a small minority. As long as clubs were conforming with the Covid rules for games, e.g. taking Track and Trace, reminding fans to socially distance, restricting access to toilets etc. they would not be liable under law. They cannot be responsible for people's foolishness any more than in a supermarket or crowds on a busy high street. When fans are allowed back in masks will probably be mandatory and clubs will have to refuse entry accordingly.

The £10,000 fines are for people illegally organising large gatherings. Most ordinary fines have been for people breaking lockdown rules, failing to wear face masks on public transport and other settings, and not self isolating.
 
Last edited:

IAN S

Reserve Team Sub
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
624
Team{s}
Sheffield United, Sheffield Eagles & Kendal Town
It would be interesting to see how many of these "fines" have actually been paid. I doubt if we would ever find out though.
 

paulh66

First Team Regular
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
3,503
Team{s}
Tranmere, South Liverpool
I expect there'll be an announcement from the FA about spectators at grassroots, possibly around the same time as the anticipated announcement about spectators at non-elite football which the FA and DCMS are still discussing....albeit perhaps not quite so urgently, seeing as the non-elite league season has now been curtailed.
 

derekn

Reserve Team Hopeful
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
542
Team{s}
Sherborne Town, Taunton Town
When fans are allowed back in masks will probably be mandatory and clubs will have to refuse entry accordingly.
Why would masks be mandatory? Grounds are normally outdoors and masks have never been required in the open air.
 

jbattheground

Youth Team Sub
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
222
Why would masks be mandatory? Grounds are normally outdoors and masks have never been required in the open air.
In the brief time that fans could go into National N/S grounds I went to Dorking. There they were mandatory when walking around, including outside, but not when standing or sitting in position. It is possible that at least initially the same rules could be applied at any enclosed ground, although exemptions would be made for people who could not wear masks for medical reasons as they are in supermarkets etc.
 

Lord Lucan

Reserve Team Regular
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
1,015
I think the OP has a point. On the whole, the police appear to have been fairly sensible about lockdown enforcement (Derbyshire police excepted from that) but just have a ponder on this jaw-dropping stupidity:
There does indeed seem to have been a lack of judgement somewhere if the FAW have insisted the club use an area which the police say use of is against Welsh Government policy.

Not sure though that actions at an elite (sic) ground in Wales (where different laws apply) have any relevance to the OPs question about Grassroots football in England.
 

SGW

Junior Team Sub
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
39
There does indeed seem to have been a lack of judgement somewhere if the FAW have insisted the club use an area which the police say use of is against Welsh Government policy.

Not sure though that actions at an elite (sic) ground in Wales (where different laws apply) have any relevance to the OPs question about Grassroots football in England.

Yes, but:

a) Just because it’s not in England doesn’t mean it’s not relevant (or not of interest at least), and

b) I doubt anyone will be thinking “that couldn’t happen here”: English officialdom is equally capable of inept learned responses with brain firmly disengaged.
 

johnr

Youth Team Star
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
424
Team{s}
NUFC (retired)
Why would masks be mandatory? Grounds are normally outdoors and masks have never been required in the open air.
OK let's see what is required, under current rules you are advised to wear a mask if you cannot maintain social distancing because of the circumstances e. g. on a high street, outdoor virus spread is massively less but that's not what the authorities recognise
 

johnr

Youth Team Star
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
424
Team{s}
NUFC (retired)
Why would masks be mandatory? Grounds are normally outdoors and masks have never been required in the open air.
OK let's see what is required, under current rules you are advised to wear a mask if you cannot maintain social distancing because of the circumstances e. g. on a high street, outdoor virus spread is massively less but that's not what the authorities recognise
 

jbattheground

Youth Team Sub
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
222
I think the OP has a point. On the whole, the police appear to have been fairly sensible about lockdown enforcement (Derbyshire police excepted from that) but just have a ponder on this jaw-dropping stupidity:

Police investigate 'number of breaches' after Cefn Druids friendly

I don't think the OP has a point because they ask why the Government is encouraging (specifically grassroots) clubs to break the law. The government is not encouraging clubs to break the law.
 

Canary fan

Junior Team Starter
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
67
Team{s}
Norwich City
In the brief time that fans could go into National N/S grounds I went to Dorking. There they were mandatory when walking around, including outside, but not when standing or sitting in position. It is possible that at least initially the same rules could be applied at any enclosed ground, although exemptions would be made for people who could not wear masks for medical reasons as they are in supermarkets etc.
That is interesting. I was lucky enough to get into 2 league games at Norwich in December. At the first the rules were exactly as you describe, however by the 2nd the rules had changed and mask wearing was enforced in the seats as well, despite the social distancing
 

Haywain

Youth Team Starter
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
280
That is interesting. I was lucky enough to get into 2 league games at Norwich in December. At the first the rules were exactly as you describe, however by the 2nd the rules had changed and mask wearing was enforced in the seats as well, despite the social distancing
I was similarly fortunate to attend two matches at Luton in December, and mask wearing was compulsory at both. It was made clear that the rules were part of the requirements put in place by the local safety authority to allow the reopening. As that authority only has power over designated sports grounds, to the best of my knowledge, it bears little relevance to what may happen at step 3 and below.
 

Cherryhopper

First Team Sub
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
2,021
Team{s}
AFC Bournemouth, Sunderland, Barnet, Verwood Town
All of which entirely supposes that the police bother to (erroneously) issue a fine. They mostly aim them at house parties and raves, that have been organised with sound systems. It would be a PR disaster to try and fine a pub football team, and they wouldn't do it.
Wouldn't put it past them, they go for the easy targets like that woman arrested for walking 2 miles over Battersea Bridge to queue for a coffee. And if any leagues in Staffordshire are resuming I bet the police there try and enforce a no spectator rule like they did for NLS clubs when the county was in Tier 3.
 

jbattheground

Youth Team Sub
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
222
Wouldn't put it past them, they go for the easy targets like that woman arrested for walking 2 miles over Battersea Bridge to queue for a coffee. And if any leagues in Staffordshire are resuming I bet the police there try and enforce a no spectator rule like they did for NLS clubs when the county was in Tier 3.

Again, I think this conflates a different issue with the one the OP raises, which is that grassroots clubs who play in public parks might attract a £10K fine for organising a gathering. The £10K fine isn't for attracting a crowd, its for organising one e.g. an unsanctioned protest or a rave.

The rule of six will be in force by the time grassroots football restarts so groups of people can be in the vicinity of the game perfectly legally. If clubs in this position are asked not to encourage spectators (like during August) then they tweet "hope to see loads of you down the rec this afternoon" then they might be entering a grey area I suppose.

You are right of course that there might be examples of isolated cases of the police making a mistake, but it wouldn't in any case lead to a £10K fine that actually stuck (it would be summarily struck down on appeal in the OP's example) - especially given it could only be for breaking social distancing which isn't mandated legally.

There's a kingfisher that feeds in the lake in my local park and as a result, on a pleasant Sunday morning there are lots of birdwatchers taking pictures. I don't believe a Step 8+ club playing in another park is at any more risk of a fine for attracting a crowd than that bird.
 

oftenscore6

Reserve Team Hopeful
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
529
Team{s}
FC United of Manchester, St Pauli, Hammarby, Hawthorn (AFL)
I'm sure I read that grassroots sport was exempt from the rules on gatherings. So there should not be fines, but if they do play in an enclosed location, that may still limit people attending. Guidance from the FA/DCMS should clarify this.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top
AdBlock Detected

Polite request!

NLM relies on advertising to pay the bills to stay online . Could I ask that you disable your AdBlocker for this site. Alternatively if you are a registered user you can remove all ads and get other benefits for as little as £1.50 a month. Just go to your Profile and click on Account Upgrades. Most visitors will see this message only once per visit...... Thanks

I've Disabled AdBlock