Covid-19 latest updates

South Yorkshire Ability Counts League

Monday 16th November 2020.

Morning everyone, we hope you’re all well and safe! Regardless of lockdown being lifted in early December, the League have decided to postpone the 7-a-side fixtures scheduled for the 6th December, moving them to January.

Most teams and many players will have had none or minimal training throughout lockdown, which could adversely affect players fitness and put them at risk of unnecessary injuries.

We understand and appreciate some of our members will be frustrated with our decision, however, the  players welfare must be our ultimate concern.

The 5-a-side fixtures scheduled for the 13th December are still planned to go ahead, but there will be further updates on these and other fixtures in early December.

Stay safe everyone, we will return when it is considered safe.

Monday 2nd November 2020

Following HM Government’s proposals for extended Covid-19 restrictions after this Wednesday, and a subsequent and understandable decision by Concord Sports Centre to close for the duration of those restrictions, the SYACL has decided to postpone the 7-a-side fixtures planned for 8th November and has provisionally rearranged the matches for Sunday 6th December.
We expect to be in a position to confirm 5-a-side arrangements when further guidance is received.
The Government has announced its intention to review these new restrictions on December 2nd, so check for updates at
In the meantime, stay safe and well and we hope to see you all playing again in December.

Friday 23rd October 2020

Dear SYACL Parents, Carers and Officials, 

Now that competition has safely restarted, we thought that it might be helpful if we revisit the conditions of our restart, particularly as they impact on families and carers.

To start with, thank you to everyone involved with the SYACL for your help, support and patience at our recent 7-a-side and 5-a-side afternoons at Concord and Goals Sheffield.

As you know, the situation is changing almost on a daily basis, with South Yorkshire now in Tier 3, but currently still allowed to participate in amateur outdoor sports. We will continue to keep you informed as to the impact of any changes in Government restrictions on our ability to keep playing football – safely.

For the avoidance of doubt, the latest guidance for youth and disability football was published today by Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA, as follows;

“Youth & Disability Football – Travel & Spectators

With regards to youth football (Under 18’s) and disability football the updated FA guidance of 23rd September with its strict conditions remains in place. At this present time there are no new restrictions on movement of youth teams and players irrespective of which Tier you are in. Youth and disability football can travel across tiers.”

In working through the safest possible ways of resuming competitive football for our SYACL teams, Darren, Mike, and Colin have met with all three potential venues to agree access requirements and one-way systems.

In the end, Goals Doncaster became just too difficult a venue for many of our teams, not for safety reasons, but for logistical and travel reasons.

From the very start, all our venues were anxious to limit the numbers of participants to minimise the risk of cross-infection. All three venues are outdoors, but all have very narrow walkways between playing areas, especially the Goals Venues, increasing the risk of groups gathering in those walkways and being unable to socially distance.

All three venues were not comfortable with spectators; and we as a League agreed with them, which is why we limited each club to two officials. It is up to the clubs to manage this, as they are much more aware of the priorities affecting their players.

Each SYACL club had to construct a Risk Assessment and appoint a Covid-19 Officer as a condition of participating. All three venues shared with us their own Risk Assessments with which we had to comply; and which took full account of Public Health England, Local Authority and Football Association Guidelines.

All of the venues were understandably careful about their communal areas and entrances, particularly with such a vulnerable group of participants. You will have noticed that the bar area in Goals Sheffield was actually closed on Sunday; and the Concord Centre is accessed only for toilet breaks. The venues are themselves concerned about their health and safety processes; if they are not rigorously applied, they run the risk of being closed if linked to a Covid-19 infection cluster.

All of the precautions we have taken at Goals Sheffield and Concord Sports Centre are designed to minimise the risk of infection through close contact outside team “bubbles.” This includes the temperature checks taken on arrival, the track and trace details provided, the wiping down of the footballs and goal frames after each game, the one-way systems, and the use of holding areas outside the pitches in competitive use.

Apparently one or two parents arrived at the venue on Sunday unaware of the restrictions on spectators. We understand their disappointment, but as a League, we have conducted several briefing sessions for the clubs, and the procedures for match days have been published on our website 

We are sorry for any confusion as we have tried as hard as we can to keep everyone informed.

In short, by allowing a normal group of spectators without the ability to socially distance, we would be increasing the risk of virus transmission amongst a far larger group.

We have always said that after each match day we would welcome suggestions as to how we can make the day safer and more enjoyable for clubs, and we would still welcome such suggestions.

Thank you all for your fantastic support.

Darren and Mike

Tuesday 22nd September 2020

The following notes must be read and adhered to in order for the safe return of the SYACL 7-A-SIDE RESTART @ Concord Sports Centre on Sunday, 27th September 2020

The SYACL has held meetings with Goals Sheffield, Goals Doncaster and communication with Concord Sports Centre in order to produce this latest update.

FA and PHE Guidance must be followed.

As the situation is changing daily – new Government guidance will be added as soon as we receive it.



A Risk Assessment has been completed.

A Covid-19 Coordinator for each team has been nominated.


Clubs will provide lists of players and officials and their contact details to Mike for track and trace. Mike is the nominated contact for Concord.

Clubs in the first series of fixtures (1.30pm) to arrive for 1.00pm to allow time for checks.

Clubs in the second series of fixtures (3 pm) to arrive for 2.30pm to allow time for checks.

Please keep personal items to a minimum; leave in cars where possible.

Teams should bring a plastic cover for personal items in case of rain.


Two club officials will gather all players together in the car park before proceeding to the pitch entrance.

Don’t forget your list of names and contact details.

Groups are to maintain social distancing at the entrance – each club group is its own bubble.

In the rare event that a participant is driven to a match by a family member or carer, the latter should remain in their vehicles and NOT mix with other vehicle occupants. 

NB Clubs should keep cars travelling – other than participants and officials-to a minimum.

Please arrive changed and ready if you can.

No changing rooms will be available, and only one set of toilets.

Please do not enter Concord Reception Area or Golf Clubhouse.

Bring your own drinks and DO NOT SHARE.


We’ll provide three bags – one per pitch – containing sanitiser, wipes, PPE, gloves and aprons for post-match clean down, inc. balls and goalposts.

Gloves and Apron are also required for the treatment of injuries, clubs to provide their own. 

Players are encouraged to bring their own hand gel, although we will ensure we have plenty on site.

Everyone is encouraged to wear face coverings, even when in close proximity to team mates or in “holding areas.”

Players requiring toilet facilities MUST BE ACCOMPANIED by one club official.

Players should refrain from spitting or excessive celebrations.


Teams should approach the gate in groups – each group socially distanced from the other. Strict 2 metre distance at all times.

Groups strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.

Mike, Colin and Darren will be at the entrance to receive contact details lists.


Any participant showing elevated temperature ( 37.5C / 99.5F or above)  will not be admitted to the venue. They will be asked to leave and return home at once, where they should seek professional medical advice. Affected players will not be eligible to return to competition until professional confirmation that they are fit and well is produced. 

Hand sanitizer will be made available/given to all participants.

Groups are to establish a holding spot in grassed areas outside playing areas.


One-way system is in place around the perimeter of the full-size pitch.

All teams must use the one-way system to access their pitch or when returning to holding area.

There will be NO nets for hygiene reasons; referees will call what they see.

The SYACL won’t be issuing bibs, so we ask that clubs provide their own in the event of a colour clash; Mike will investigate how likely this might be.

Once your matches are over, please collect your things from the holding area and leave the venue as quickly as you can.


There will be two corridors between pitches for teams and officials who are involved in play.

No other teams should be within the playing area if they are not directly involved.

If a ball leaves one pitch and enters another, please do not use your hands to retrieve it.

Please do not warm up with footballs in the holding areas. This increases the risk of transmission between groups.


Please leave the venue as quickly as you can taking your belongings and litter with you.

Each team to nominate an official to write up a short summary of the game from their perspective: if this poses a problem please speak to Colin and it can be done by telephone. These reports are for inclusion on the SYACL Website. The website has really taken off and we have many regular readers so please feel free to send any news about your club or members for inclusion.

Please raise any issues or concerns you experience on the day with Mike or Colin.  

Any suggestions for how we can improve the event will also be really welcome.

Turn over to our blog page for further updates or click here:




Thursday 20th August 2020

We have a new update from Mike on our blog page so follow this link to read:

Saturday 1st August 2020

Hello everyone, this page will be updated every time we get a new Covid-19 update so that all players and clubs are aware of the SYCAL revised regulations in this uncertain time. This is the latest information we have been passed.

A summary from the FA about the safe return of football which will be in force.

The League does not require any proof that action has been taken, it is your responsibility as a club to ensure it is as safe as possible for your participants. However, the League will require the name and contact details of the Covid-19 officer appointed at your club, please send details to Colin Muncie [] who is monitoring the  Covid-19 situation @SYACL.

Vulnerable  players who may still feel uncomfortable about returning should not be put under any unnecessary pressure, please allow them to return when they or their family / carers personally feel is the right time.

In discussion with Concord Sports Centre and Goals Centres, the League will have to provide names and contact details of all participants attending every match day event ( numbers likely to be limited for spectators ) for track and test purposes. Clubs will have to provide a list to the League Covid official on their arrival at the venue; anyone unwilling  to share their information will not be allowed to participate. That will include players, Club officials, spectators and referees, essentially every person involved with our league on that day. 

We will also request that changing rooms will not be used at the venues. Please start planning on providing team kits to your players prior to match days so that they all arrive at the venues already changed. The league will not be passing out bibs on match days, please ensure your teams have them available at match days in case of colour clash with match opponent/s. They must not be shared on the day between your players, so please purchase for all the squad so that players can take home to wash and keep as part of their kit, or collected by a team official at the end of the day to be taken away and washed.

A Covid 19 risk League assessment has been sent onto the venues, we are waiting for that to be approved before we can confirm dates and kick off times.

There are currently other matters that will have to be adhered to by all participants on match days, that may be amended or added to as we get closer to our provisional start in late September and we will share that with all our clubs closer to that date.

We will all have to play our part to make the return to training and competitive football as safe as possible. Please follow the FA & Government NHS advice and guidelines closely.

The league will keep you updated on any changes or actions required as we want you, your families and all club members to remain safe and healthy.

Mike & Darren