Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 3 Sep 2020
Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 - see all updates

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

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

Workforce planning and support

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

Continue home working

From midnight on 4 January 2021, working from home as a public health measure has been a crucial factor in mitigating the transmission of the virus in the general public and is an effort we must continue.

The current position is that anyone who is able to work from home, should do so. It will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work if that work cannot be done from home.

Employers must not ask or direct an employee to commit an offence by requiring travel for work that it is possible to be done from home.  Nor should employers encourage, authorise or make arrangements that would allow or put pressure on their employees to break the law.

The NAs / NGBs / Professional Clubs’ stadium workforce should 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 should return to work at stadiums but this should be kept to a minimum.  A phased return may be necessary for some stadiums but home-working should be the default, where possible.

We have published statutory guidance to support the continuation of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pilot measures

Stadiums should consider 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 these measures 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 matches played with no spectators in particular, 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. Stadiums should clearly set out the roles and responsibilities of officials.

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 should 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 should consider individual health circumstances and protected characteristics of employees before prioritising who is asked to return to work and when, recognising 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 should be factored into the risk assessment process.

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


The Scottish Government compliance self-assessment tool is available.

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

There are other issues 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.

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

Protect Scotland

Protect Scotland is an entirely voluntary app that is an additional part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service. Having the app should never be a requirement for any workplace. The app complements but does not replace manual contact tracing. It enhances contact tracing and quickly alerts app users that are at risk as they have come into close contact (less than two metres for 15 minutes or more) with an app user that has since tested positive for COVID-19.

Further information about the contact tracing app for employers, workers and attendees is available.

Check In Scotland

NAs / NGBs / Professional Clubs should encourage all attendees to download the Check In Scotland app, which allows individuals to check in and out of venues.

Test and Protect – outbreak management

NAs / NGBs / Professional Clubs should follow public health guidance if any personnel become unwell with virus symptoms at work. The person should leave work to selfisolate straight away, for 10 days and wear a face covering on the journey home unless they are exempt. 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 should support them to do this straight away, and should also 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.


There are test centres across Scotland for people with and without symptoms, and individuals can also get tests to do at home.

You can get a test for:

  • yourself
  • someone you care for
  • a child in your care

Further information is available on the NHS Inform website.


Specific guidance for those on the shielding list can be found at support for shielding on This includes information on:

  • working in current restrictions
  • financial assistance
  • Chief Medical Officer letters

The latest guidance on shielding should be observed by all NAs / NGBs / Professional Clubs and any personnel who are shielding or living with someone who is shielding will not be compelled to attend work and arrangements should be made to ensure those staff are not disadvantaged due to obeying medical advice.

First published: 3 Sep 2020 Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 -