PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR A STATEMENT FROM BIRMINGHAM COUNTY FA CEO, KEVIN SHOEMAKE:
In light of the current Coronavirus health emergency, and given some initial FA guidance which we previously distributed, I thought it apt and timely to update our customers on the current situation along with answers to some frequently asked questions that we have been receiving.
Our primary concern is the health and wellbeing of the BCFA staff, their families and that the entire football family also remains fit and healthy and in a position to start some formats of the game in the not too distant future.
I also have to safeguard the business from the financial impact that COVID-19 is having, whilst offering as much support to our Leagues and Clubs at this time and to help them kickstart football across the region at the first opportunity when the Government ease and then lift the current restrictions.
With all our activities and events delayed, postponed or cancelled, and under the current Government restrictions, there is little prospect of anything football related restarting for the foreseeable future. The recent decision by The FA to immediately end the season and expunge all results has brought an end to all our football activities in the region – a decision we support as a County FA.
The BCFA offices were closed on Wednesday 18th March. However, all staff are currently working remotely and are available via their work emails or mobiles. Any general emails that we receive via our customer support portal will be forwarded to the relevant department: Support@BirminghamFA.com
Our 14 County Cup competitions were postponed immediately upon the Government restrictions being announced. We are currently reviewing the situation and all available options and will communicate with those clubs still in each competition, as well as via our website and social media channels.
We are also discussing what our future competitions will look like, given any time constraints, to compliment other competitions in place at that time and support entrants into each of our prestigious County Cups.
Should Leagues require any assistance on bringing their season to a close, it is imperative that League representatives contact the BCFA before making any decisions as we will ensure you are given the appropriate and correct advice, as per FA regulations, which must include calling and holding an SGM/EGM when deciding ways forward.
Further information regarding AGM’s can be found here
We ask everyone participating in our game to follow the Government advice to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and keep yourselves, your families and everyone in your Clubs and Leagues safe and in good health during what is a very difficult time for us all.
The BCFA remains operational, but it may take slightly longer to reply or return calls during this period. We will continue to bring you regular updates on our website and social media channels as often as we can.
For more information, please contact: Support@BirminghamFA.com
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS…
Can we still charge Club subscriptions whilst all football is postponed?
This is a Club decision. We would advise that you consult with members, players, parents and guardians on reaching any decision. Clubs who own/lease facilities will still have bills to pay and this should be explained to all participants when coming to a decision. However, Clubs should be mindful of people who are currently out of work as a result of COVID-19, or have had their working hours reduced, and may have to prioritise their expenditure and struggle to contribute.
Is there any funding for Clubs during this time?
As things stand, there is no football specific emergency grant funding available to support Clubs. We would draw your attention to the support announced by the Chancellor in response to COVID-19.
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses, including:
• a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
• a 12-month business rates ‘holiday’ for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
• small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
• grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
• the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
• a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
• the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
• for Clubs and Leagues with paid staff then please consider the Government’s Job Retention scheme
We have also sourced a number of other funding opportunities available, information and things to consider via the following links:
Please also visit the BCFA’s funding page on our website which outlines a number of opportunities available:
There is also specific funding available from Sport England:
Further information on the following topics can also be found within the link immediately below the list:
• Guidance Note 1: Membership Subscriptions
• Guidance Note 2: Contractual Rights and Obligations in relation to Suppliers
• Guidance Note 3: Overseas Tours
• Guidance Note 4: Club Operations
• Guidance Note 5: Facilities Hire
• Guidance Note 6: Employment
• Guidance Note 7: Financial Assistance
• Guidance Note 8: Directors’ Duties
• Guidance Note 9: Data Protection
The BCFA will not be refunding Leagues and Clubs, but we are considering a range of measures and incentives regarding Affiliation and County Cup fees to help Clubs recover and get as many people playing a format of football when safe and allowed to do so. We are also discussing various options with our brokers regarding public liability and personal accident insurance for the new season as and when it begins.
Is my League going to finish? What about Cup Finals?
On Thursday 26 March, The FA decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019/20 season – a decision which is supported by Birmingham County FA. This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season. Birmingham County FA will be supporting grassroots Leagues over the coming days to determine how they should properly close out their current competitions, as per recent FA guidance, and in line with FA regulations, so it is important that League representatives contact the BCFA for the appropriate and up to date guidance and correct information.
What happens with my Club's Charter Standard Annual Health Check?
The Charter Standard Annual Health Check deadline has been extended to the 30th April. BCFA staff have been working with Clubs during this period whilst encouraging them to complete any outstanding action plans or missing information whilst football is paused for the foreseeable future.
All volunteers carrying out regulated activity with U18s (in accordance with DBS guidance) require an Enhanced DBS with a check of the Children’s Barring List before they commence their role within football. This is current practice and will remain in place. However, we ask that new DBS checks are not submitted whilst football activity remains suspended.
For the avoidance of doubt, volunteers will not be permitted to carry out regulated activity with U18s until they have obtained a DBS check. The FA will provide a further update on processing new DBS checks in due course when there is further clarity on football activity will resume.
All individuals whose DBS checks are due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 1 October 2020 will not be required to renew their DBS checks until 1 year after the scheduled date of expiry. The FA currently requires DBS checks to be renewed every 3 years in accordance with industry standards and best practice. However, we have made an informed decision to extend that to 4 years, in these limited circumstances, on the basis of the current health crisis and associated difficulties in DBS check renewal and the fact that these individuals already hold a DBS check which has been accepted by The FA.
All coaches must have an accepted DBS if they are working in regulated activity with young people under the age of 18. We are awaiting further advice from The FA in relation to the renewal of DBS checks for those that have expired.
This downtime could also be a great opportunity to review your volunteer safeguarding compliance for when football commences, which includes the DBS guidance above and any course provision required going forward and if any become out of date during the period.
When will Coach Education courses resume?
Birmingham County FA has cancelled all of its course delivery up until the end of May 2020. We will continue to follow FA and Government advice with regards to the delivery of our activity over the coming weeks, including the delivery of coach and referee education courses.
• Learners who have booked onto courses will be contacted and refunded in full.
• Learners whom have partially attended their course have had their course postponed until the remaining dates can be rescheduled
• Learners on courses starting after 1st June 2020 will be contacted closer to the course start date to confirm if the course will be taking place along with arrangements at that time.
The team is planning our course provision and will provide updates and the options available later in the year.
Will County FAs be refunding monies for Discipline Cases during the season?
No, as the sanctions were imposed as a result of misconduct committed and are not dependent on the completion of the season. However, provision has been made for WGS to prevent any further late fines or club/team suspensions being imposed as a result of non-payment.
Will outstanding suspensions be waived?
As per FA Disciplinary Regulations, any match suspension outstanding following the last competitive fixture will be served at the commencement of the next season. On that basis, any suspension that remains outstanding will be served once competitive football recommences.
When does a player’s registration end and our Club can consider an approach for next season?
A player’s Club registration will end on 31 May 2020, where they will become a “free agent.” Should a Club wish to approach a player before this date, then the Club would be required to submit a “Notice of Approach” in accordance with the regulations.
Are Referee Promotions and Reclassifications taking place?
It remains the intention for promotions and reclassifications to be implemented across the Refereeing pyramids. The marking season will finish, as planned on Thursday 30th April 2020.
If the season is null and void, how can Referees be promoted?
The Refereeing structure is separate to the National League System (men’s and women’s).
I am a current promotion candidate but, with all the bad weather and the virus cancelling the end of the season, I am short on 20 games?
Birmingham County FA will take into account that some Referees may not have met the requisite number of games or received the required number of observations due to the season finishing early. Their position will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
I am a Level 7 Referee but have not done 20 games this season, can I apply for promotion (2020/21)?
A Level 7 Referee must officiate as a Referee in a minimum of 20 games in one registration period before applying for promotion. With the season ending early, applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis following the guidance by The FA.
When can I register for 2020/21?
The registration window for the 2020/21 season will commence on the 1st June 2020. Correspondence will follow in due course.
On behalf of everyone at Birmingham County FA, we hope the information is beneficial to Leagues and Clubs and participants and whatever level or format of the game you play. We are regularly reviewing government information and FA guidelines and will update accordingly.
In the meantime, please stay safe, take care and stay healthy.
CEO at Birmingham County FA
STAY AT HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES