Return to Football

October 8th, 2021

UPDATED 12:03PM 09/10/21 – Note amendment to the number of people allowed to participate in outdoor sport or exercise from 30 to 20.

In accordance with the most recent NSW Government Public Health Orders, and following guidance from the NSW Office of Sport, Northern NSW Football is able to provide an update on the conditions under which football activities can occur as of Monday, 11th October 2021.

Outdoor sport or exercise

An outdoor public gathering for sport or exercise – including football training – may take place provided that:

  • People aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated or have a valid medical exemption (Medical Certificate required).
  • There are no more than 20 people involved including participants, coaches and officials, and parents or spectators (Northern NSW Football encourages parents to not participate as part of a training group where possible).
  • There is no requirement for people attending aged under 16 to be vaccinated
  • All clubs are expected to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for all gatherings of the above nature from 11 October. As part of a COVID-19 Safety Plan, anyone attending must:
  • Check in using a Service NSW QR Code.
  • Use changerooms or communal facilities (e.g. gym) inline with the 1 person per 4sqm rule and masks are required to be worn in all indoor settings.
  • The minimum space we recommend for 20 participants is approximately 50 x 30 metres which equates to one-quarter of a football pitch.
  • A club can divide each pitch into up to four segments and ensure that no more than 20 people are in each quarter at any one time. That is, a maximum of 80 people can be on a full-size pitch that has been subdivided into four quarters.
  • If there are multiple groups training at the same time, the groups should not mix at any time.
  • Northern NSW Football recommends that clubs nominate a jacketed official who will act as a COVID-19 Marshal at each training session. The Marshal’s role will be to remind people of their responsibilities to follow these guidelines.
  • Recommencement of training remains subject to current local government area (LGA) guidelines and or/restrictions.

Indoor recreation facilities (Futsal)

A group class or other group activity – including Futsal training – may occur in an indoor recreation facility provided that:

  • People aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated or have a valid medical exemption (medical certificate required).
  • The operator of the activity has a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • The operator of the activity ensures that no more than 20 people are in attendance and there are no more than 1 person per 4 square metres of space
  • The operator of the activity takes reasonable steps to ensure that all participants check-in via the Service NSW App and that no unvaccinated adults (aged 16 years and over) are on the premises.
  • There is no requirement for people attending aged under 16 to be vaccinated.
  • Indoor group activity does NOT include futsal friendly/trial matches or competitions.


  • Clubs are expected to take all reasonable steps to ensure participants; are vaccinated, check in using a Service NSW QR Code, and are compliant with Public Health orders.
  • It is also the responsibility of those participating in any gathering to comply with the vaccination or medical exemption requirements, and to obey the Public Health Orders at all times.
  • Volunteers must not get involved in confrontations or be subjected to physical or verbal abuse for trying to keep participants safe and compliant. If individuals are not complying with the Public Health Orders, it is a matter for the police.


  • Northern NSW Football insurances only apply to sanctioned football activities whilst those activities and participants are compliant with Public Health Orders.
  • Participants who are injured while participating during a sanctioned football activity are covered by NNSWF injury insurance (subject to Policy Terms and Conditions) for injuries sustained as a result of football participation, however claims related to Covid-19 are an exclusion on the policies.

The above guidelines cover the period October 11, 2021 through until the state hits the 80% double dose vaccination milestone, after which a new set of Public Health Orders will be released by the NSW Government and further guidelines will be released by Northern NSW Football.

Return to play

  • At the time of writing, no organised community sport competitions or programs are permitted to take place until the first Monday after NSW hits the 80% double dose vaccination milestone for those aged 16 and above (currently expected to be Monday 25th October).
  • For the case of football, organised community sport competitions/programs includes, but is not limited to, friendly matches, intraclub matches, leagues, trials, internal games, or similar.

Northern NSW Football will produce a Return to Football Update in the lead up to the 80% double dose vaccination being achieved and/or following any changes to Public Health Orders.

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