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Schools' Football Week 2021 is returning from 24th - 30th May.

The English Schools’ Football Association is delighted to announce the return of Schools’ Football Week, from 24th – 30th May 2021.

Schools’ Football Week is an ESFA initiative designed not only to highlight the huge scale of Schools' Football in England, but also as an opportunity for Associations, schools, teams and clubs from across the country to embrace schools’ football and the wellbeing benefits it provides to pupils and players. With the anticipated lifting of restrictions on school and youth sport, the ESFA is looking forward to the 2021/22 season and is keen, in the meantime, to draw attention to the wonderful world of Schools' Football that, despite challenges, has been ever present throughout the last 12 months. The main focus for Schools’ Football Week 2021 is to provide an opportunity for children to get outside, have fun and enjoy being able to play sport with their school friends, competitively or otherwise.

ESFA will be planning different activities to take place throughout Schools’ Football Week and they will keep you fully updated on these over the next few weeks. ESFA will be officially launching Schools’ Football Week on Monday 19th April when they will be able to share with you all of their plans. ESFA will be asking you to register activity taking place within your Association so they can celebrate the participation numbers from across England. ESFA will send the activity registration link to you on Monday 19th April and are already looking forward to seeing what everyone has planned this Schools' Football Week.

In the meantime…

ESFA are planning to host a specific day of activity on Wednesday 26th May, which will be known as Schools’ Football Week – Game On! On this day, they will be inviting all Associations, schools and colleges to host inter-house or intra-school tournaments – creating the biggest football match in the world! More details will be released, but in the meantime, please pop the date in your diary and think about how many matches, competitive or otherwise, that your school could host on the 26th May.


ESFA are very pleased that a version of their U11 Danone Nations Cup competitions will be able to go ahead for boys’ and girls’ district teams from April 2021. Unfortunately, once again in 2021 there will be no DNC World Finals, however the Danone Nations Cup team have been working on alternative ways to connect to players across the world. They have put together some information on their ‘Good Life Goals’, which are their child-friendly interpretation of UN goals and are encouraging young people, from all over the world, to vote for the most important ‘Good Life Goals’ to them. To find out more, please visit the DNC website here.


Rebecca Welch, who hails from Washington, became the first ever female referee to be appointed to a Football League match when she officiated the League Two match between Harrogate and Port Vale on Easter Monday. In her early refereeing career Rebecca refereed in schools football and acted as assistant and referee for county games. Congratulations Rebecca.


Jill Scott, who represented DCSFA from 2000 to 2003, made her 150th appearance for England Women in the recent international against Northern Ireland. Only Fara Williams has played more times for England Women.


The FA has published its guidance on the resumption of football with effect from the permitted date of 29th March. You will find the detailed guidance here: FA guidance for outdoor grassroots football return on 29 March 2021.

The guidance is written for clubs but also applies to schools’ football and you should read it carefully before planning your activity. In so doing, you will see that:

  • Travel is permitted in order to play football, although you are advised not to travel at busy times or on busy routes. Whilst non-essential travel is to be avoided, it is permitted to travel to play. However, outside of the FA's guidance, the DCMS guidance notes that overnight stays for the purpose of attending sports events is NOT permitted so please ensure you do not permit overnight stays before the guidance is reviewed on 12th April.
  • Parental consent is required for children to play football post-Covid. Parents are required to confirm they are content with your covid security arrangements and as such are permitting their child(ren) to take part. Please ensure you obtain these permissions before you play.
  • You are required to complete a full risk assessment, including Covid-specific controls, prior to planning your events. You may find it helpful to share your covid risk assessment with parents in order to gain their consent for their children to play.  You can find a template here FA-Covid-19-Risk-Assessment-Guidance-and-Template

Please also look out for updates at each step of the lifting of lockdown restrictions, as the guidance may change at each review.


All documents relevant for restarting and maintaining schools’ football activity can be found on the ESFA website by using the following link. COVID-19 GUIDANCE

A summary of key points to consider from ESFA guidelines are listed for ease below:

  • Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend.
  • Associations, schools and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19.
  • Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches.
  • Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play.
  • Players and staff should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session.
  • Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play.
  • Football coaches and teachers are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training.
  • Goal celebrations should be avoided.
  • Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, teachers and coaches should only handle equipment in training.
  • Associations: Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities. Schools should follow approved guidelines relating to changing facilities regarding PE lessons and inter-school matches
  • Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.  If mini-bus or coach travel is absolutely necessary, please follow advice contained within the guidance document below
  • Associations and schools should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace.


As with all public liability policies the protection is in relation the third-party claims following injuries sustained or property damage claims. For this type of claim to be successful the claimant's solicitor would need to prove the Association had acted negligently. All risk assessments would need to be completed before events take place. For any insurance cover to be effective all activities must be in line with current guidelines, and in adherence with current Social Distancing protocols.

ESFA Evidence of Insurance document can be viewed here.



March 2021 click here

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