The new North Devon Football League season is set to start on September 5 as grassroots football has been given the green light to restart.
The Football Association published detailed guidance for a return of competitive grassroots football on Saturday (July 18), the day after the plan was approved by the Government.
It recommends a phased return to competitive football activity, starting with groups of up to 30 people being able to return to competitive training.
From August, competitive matches such as pre-season fixtures can begin.
Grassroots leagues, as well as the men’s National League System and the Women’s Football Pyramid and FA Competitions can then commence in September.
Clubs and facilities should appoint a Covid-19 officer and are required to complete a risk assessment and put comprehensive plans in place to mitigate the risk of coronavirus spread.
It paves the way for the five men’s divisions in the North Devon Football League to start on September 5, with the women’s division kicking off on September 6.
League secretary Mick Tattersall said there was plenty of work to do before then.
“It’s great news for all football, but certainly for our local grassroots game,” he said.
“With just under seven weeks before we can make a potential start, the member clubs have a lot of things to organise to make sure they are Covid safe and comply with the FA guidance.
“It will be a lot of extra work for an already stretched volunteer workforce in local football but I am sure we will pull through it together.
“The league will offer as much help as possible and we are relying on the players to be sensible, follow the guidance and comply with all the instructions that their clubs give them.
“Firstly we need the players to get themselves registered to their clubs, so they know their numbers and can start putting all the relevant information in place.
“Its a tough start but one we are all looking forward to.”
The guidelines say players, coaches and officials should arrive changed, and shower at home.
During play, ball handling should be kept to a minimum, and the ball should be disinfected during breaks in play. Goal celebrations should also be avoided.
Participants must not spit, and should avoid shouting or raising their voices when facing each other.