Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): stadium sector guidance for professional football and rugby

Published: 10 Jul 2020
Last updated: 27 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on professional football and professional rugby for the stadium sector, including an operational guide and checklist.

7 page PDF

240.8 kB

7 page PDF

240.8 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19): stadium sector guidance for professional football and rugby
Workforce planning and support

7 page PDF

240.8 kB

Workforce planning and support

Information about supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not.

Continue home working

The NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs’ stadium workforce will continue to work from home where possible and only roles critical for business and operational continuity, safe facility management or regulatory requirements which cannot be performed remotely will return to work at stadiums but this will be kept to a minimum. A phased return may be necessary for some stadiums but home-working will be the default, where possible.

Pilot measures

Stadiums will pilot measures initially in specific zoned areas of the stadium and for a proportion of workforce at lower risk from the virus, before implementing across the stadium as a whole. Travel to work, childcare consideration, as well as risk factors for individual employees, will be taken into account before deciding which individuals to involve in pilots and a phased restart. For initial closed door matches, there will be a zoned approach with separation of individuals, based on their role in the Match (ie red, amber and green zones). This approach includes player training sessions, where zones are also in play.

Referees and match officials undertake an important role in the implementation of the rules and operation of the game. Recognising this function – and the distinctive nature of the role in football and rugby – specific detailed guidance has been produced by both NGBs and this should be used by NAs / professional clubs.

Employee health and wellbeing

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs recognise the unequal impact across their workforce, as different employee groups and individuals will have been affected in diverse ways according to their job role, and demographic/personal circumstances.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will foster a fair and inclusive working environment which does not tolerate discrimination. Processes are already in place to ensure there is no victimisation of those infected, suspected or more vulnerable to COVID-19.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will consider individual health circumstances and protected characteristics of employees before prioritising who is asked to return to work and when. This will recognise the protective measures required to minimise health risks to vulnerable or shielded workers or those living in vulnerable or shielded households. Consideration of health circumstances and protected characteristics will be factored into the risk assessment process.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will also seek permission from individuals before collecting any information on health conditions of those within their household.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will take into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics. This will include communicating appropriately with employees whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or any steps taken may be inappropriate or challenging for them. Considerations will be given as to whether any particular measures or adjustments are required to fulfil duties under the equalities legislation.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has slightly updated its guidance for employers to make it more relevant to decisions about return to work. A link to this should be included within your sectoral guidance and please consider how you can promote it to your stakeholders.

Reasonable adjustments will be made to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage and the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers will be assessed. NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will ensure the steps implemented do not have an unjustifiably negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

Given that there is some evidence which suggests that COVID-19 may impact disproportionately on some groups (particularly people from BAME communities), NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will ensure that Occupational Health Service provide practical support to BAME staff, particularly where they are anxious about protecting themselves and their families. All staff with underlying health conditions and disabilities, who are over 70, or who are pregnant will be individually risk assessed, and appropriate reasonable or workplace adjustments should be made following risk assessment.

There are other issues that employers need to consider to ensure workplaces are inclusive. The Equality and Human Rights Commission  can provide advice on a range of issues such as non-discrimination, communication with employees on equality issues, adjustments for disabled people, support for pregnant employees, flexible working for those with caring responsibilities, support for employees affected by domestic abuse, how to deal with harassment at work, and mental health issues. Close the Gap, through their 'Think Business Think Equality' toolkit, have produced guidance on employers supporting employees affected by domestic abuse during the pandemic and a more general online self-assessment resource for employers on domestic abuse. The RNIB also provide information on employing partially sighted and blind workers during COVID, and a COVID risk assessment tool.

Apprentices can return to work at the same time as their co-workers. For specific concerns regarding the safe return to work for apprentices, there is information and support on the Skills Development Scotland website and apprentices can speak to an advisor directly on 0800 917 8000.

It is important to ensure there is a functioning training infrastructure to support economic recovery and the sustainability of apprenticeship programmes. For those Training Providers and assessors that are providing continuity of contracted services for apprentices, learners and employers in the workplace during the pandemic must adhere to the applicable sectoral guidance.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will support Scotland’s Test and Protect strategy to break the chains of the transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs should follow public health guidance if any personnel become unwell with coronavirus symptoms at work.  The person should leave work to selfisolate straight away and, if possible, wear a face covering on route and avoid public transport.  Employers should direct employees to NHS Inform or, if they can’t get online, call 0800 028 2816, to arrange to get tested.

If an employee is informed by a contact tracer that they should self-isolate, the NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will support them to do this straight away. NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will implement a process for any employees who are self-isolating to raise concerns about returning to work and where possible encourage working from home after a period of self-isolation.

Guidance will also be produced for the workforce who self-isolating, sick, balancing care responsibilities.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs’ personnel who are shielding or living with someone who is shielding will not be compelled to attend work and NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will make arrangements to ensure those staff are not disadvantaged due to obeying medical advice. NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs will explore measures such as suspending the normal application of sickness or disciplinary procedures related to attendance in these cases. 

If clinically vulnerable – but not extremely clinically vulnerable, in the shielding category – individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to stay two metres away from others. If they have to spend time within two metres of others, this should be carefully assessed to identify if this involves an unacceptable level of risk.

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs acknowledge the range of factors likely to cause stress or anxiety amongst employees, ranging from living with lockdown arrangements to concerns about travel, schools, caring responsibilities and relatives impacted by the virus, amongst others. This may have implications for mental health of the workforce and NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs are conscious how these factors will impact on the well-being of individual staff members and provide appropriate available support.

Any personnel who have COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms should not attend the stadium and should follow guidance. This advice should also be reiterated to contractors and anyone else who may be required to attend the stadium at any point.

Page last updated: 27 July 2020

First published: 10 Jul 2020 Last updated: 27 Jul 2020 -