HRH Duke of Edinburgh, 10 June 1921 to 9 April 2021 Read more

Publication - Advice and guidance

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

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
Assessing risk

7 page PDF

240.8 kB

Assessing risk

Information about involving the workforce in a risk-based approach.

A risk-based approach will be followed to protect health and safety of employees and ensure a longer-term economic viability of National Associations / National Governing Bodies / Professional Clubs and employees are fully engaged in this process. The key principles below set by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have been adopted to manage risk and protect people:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk
  • review control measures regularly and adapt where necessary

Player and staff engagement

The NAs / Professional Clubs have consulted with and will continue to engage with their employees and any associated unions / representative bodies. To ensure all match day personnel, whether directly or indirectly employed, are appropriately engaged with prior to their return to work and throughout the season, this will include the involvement of broader trade unions.

As each venue is different, NAs and Professional Clubs with stadiums should work with representative organisations and / or trades unions to determine how best to apply this guidance in their specific circumstances. 

Joint working

This guidance has been developed in collaboration with the Scottish FA and Scottish Rugby on the basis both have essential roles to play within their individual sports, the stadiums they operate or are associated with.  Protecting the health of players and all associated personnel, staff, contractors and, of course, spectators is at the heart of this joint approach which is fundamental to establishing shared confidence about the safety of returning stadiums to work and support a recovery of productivity.

Implementation phases

NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs have undertaken a robust risk assessment of their full workforce with the involvement of safety professionals/representatives to identify the practical measures and protocols to be implemented to minimise the spread of the virus within a stadium. The assessment includes a phased implementation timetable, structured broadly as follows:


NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs based within stadiums have developed user-friendly plans to prepare for reopening, these plans map out procedures which will guide the NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs to respond, recover, resume and restore to a predefined level of operation. These plans will be kept up to date and documented in a way which enables personnel to quickly access information which is relevant to them. To make a plan focused, specific and easy to use they will be:

  • accessible
  • direct
  • adaptable
  • concise
  • relevant

The aim is to identify and document the priorities, procedures, responsibilities and resources that will support the NAs/NGBs/Professional Clubs in managing their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A key element of this will be the appointment of a COVID-19 Lead – or Leads – as a key points of contact in specific areas.


Sanitisation and hygiene

Enhanced sanitisation and maintenance of good hygiene standards at stadiums is crucial to the ongoing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, with specific focus on cleaning, hand and respiratory hygiene. There are a number of measures which are appropriate and will be introduced to provide effective sanitisation and hygiene, while also providing confidence for all stadium users that measures have been taken to minimise the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Cleaning the workplace

Before reopening

To make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart, including:

  • an assessment for all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed, before restarting work
  • cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser before restarting work
  • checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels
  • most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings or you are unsure, advice can be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers
  • opening windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible

Legionella testing

There is an increased risk of Legionnaire’s Disease when buildings have been out of use, or not running at full capacity. This is because water systems may become stagnant when not in use, increasing the risk of legionella within water supplies. Many public and office buildings have been closed during the COVID-19 crisis, making legionella a legitimate concern as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Health and Safety Executive have published advice on the risk of Legionella in buildings which are closed or running with reduced occupancy during the COVID-19 crisis on the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) website.

Building owners or operators should undertake a health and safety check of buildings, and deep cleaning prior to reopening where necessary, to mitigate risks. More information can be found on the HSE website.

Keeping the workplace clean

To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces:

  • frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as door handles, other handles, keyboards, handheld devices and printers etc, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements
  • clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift
  • wedging doors open, where appropriate – NB - this does not apply to fire doors – to reduce touchpoints
  • of you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19, then refer to the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.
Hygiene - handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets

To help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day:

  • mark maximum number of persons in toilets/showers/changing facilities for physical distancing
  • using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and the need to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available. Perform hand hygiene after this
  • provision of cleaning wipes for WC units
  • providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards
  • providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and physical distancing is achieved as much as possible
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
  • special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets
  • providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical driers
Changing facilities

To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers:

  • where shower and changing facilities are required, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that physical distancing is achieved as much as possible
  • introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day
Handling goods, merchandise and other materials, and onsite vehicles

To reduce transmission through contact with objects that come into the workplace and vehicles at the worksite:

  • cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering the site
  • cleaning procedures for vehicles
  • regular cleaning of reusable delivery boxes
  • introducing greater handwashing and handwashing facilities for workers handling goods and merchandise and providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical
  • restricting non-business deliveries, for example, personal deliveries to workers
  • ensuring physical distancing and hygiene measures are followed where possible when supplies etc are delivered
  • collecting items in bulk to reduce the frequency of needing to visit shops to buy or collect materials
  • removing waste in bulk if possible
  • enhanced handling procedures of laundry to prevent potential contamination of surrounding surfaces, to prevent raising dust or dispersing the virus. Further detail is provided in  NA/NGB/Professional Club Return to Play guidance


  • complete lock down of stadium X hours prior to match
  • deep clean
  • amended cleaning protocols/processes and identify all high traffic touch points
  • improve consumable and sanitisation supplies (e.g. PPE, alcohol gel, antibacterial wipes, cleaning stations, non-contact thermometers, hand towels, sensor operated bins) in multiple key locations across the facility where access is required
  • instruction on hygiene standards to all user groups

Page last updated: 3 September 2020

First published: 3 Sep 2020 Last updated: 3 Sep 2020 -