FA Publish Guidelines for Return of Spectators in Non League Football

England Football Association (FA) have published guidelines permitting the return of spectators in Non League Football. 

This decision involves a phrased yet limited return of spectators to matches played at Steps three to six of the National League System (NLS) and also within the Women’s Football Pyramid (WFP). 

FA have worked with Digital Culture of Media and Sport (DCMS) plus Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SAGA) to successfully get proposals agreed and passed, which involves a two stage return of spectators. 

Clubs will need to conduct their own risk assessments and action plans due to every ground being different, whilst also having a track and trace support system in place in case a spectator later tests positive for Coronavirus and NHS Track and Trace need to notify other fans. 


Two Stage Return 

Stage One will permit spectators to attend fixtures at steps three to six of the NLS and tiers three and four of the WFP between 22-30 August 2020, although attendance numbers cant exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels. 

Step three clubs will be permitted up to 300 spectators at fixtures whilst step four teams are allowed a maximum of 200 fans, with those at steps five and six such as Northern League are permitted only 150 spectators during stage one. 

In the event that any teams don’t play any fixtures within this period, they cannot participate in stage two until they have played at least one pre-season or competitive fixture in accordance with their respective level of spectators. 

Should any club fail to comply with the opening stage, their time spent at that stage will be extended.

The second stage will commence on 31 August with clubs allowed spectators up to a maximum of 30 percent of the ground grading capacity, depending on their level or respective figures set out within FA’s updated guidelines. 

Clubs however must be satisfied that they can comply with the Government’s guidance on the return to football alongside the FA’s newly updated guidelines. 

At this stage, the spectator limit at each step doubles meaning that step three clubs will be permitted 600 fans in attendance, with 400 spectators allowed at step four matches whilst clubs steps five and six will be allowed 300 supporters into grounds. 

Clubs however are urged to be wary of the impact of a local lockdown potentially preventing spectators from attending or matches being played, and must comply with government, local authority or local health service guidance. 

Stage One Attendance Limit

Step Level Step Ground Capacity
3 300
4 200
5 150
6 150


Stage Two Attendance Limit

Step Level Step Ground Capacity
3 600
4 400
5 300
6 300


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