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FAQs: Coronavirus

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The FSA exists to represent the interests of football supporters across England and Wales, and we’ll continue to do that during the coronavirus pandemic despite the lack of football.

While the prime focus for everyone is public health it is understandable that supporters have other questions. We have listed some of the most common below – if you think there’s something we’ve missed contact us.

Everyone is working in extremely difficult circumstances and we can’t pretend that we have all the answers but we are in discussions with the authorities and will raise appropriate matters.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What public health advice does football have for fans?

The FSA teamed up with the Premier League, EFL, and FA to deliver a clear message to supporters – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. Find out more here.

It is also important to note that any official communications will come from the Government and football authorities themselves. Don’t get sucked in by fake news – if you’re not sure something is true check out the official guidance from the NHS or other authorities.

The Government provides regular updates via: www.gov.uk

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Ticketing

There is no consistent approach across football and clubs are taking different approaches. Many clubs are extending or postponing “early bird” season ticket renewal deadlines and introducing new policies to reflect the current situation. Some clubs have chosen to process payments.

Individual match-tickets are different and will be determined by the competition in which your club competes. If your club plays in a competition which has been cancelled then it is reasonable to expect a refund. Contact the club in the first instance and let us know if you have any problems securing a refund.

Many leagues and competitions have been suspended or postponed, so a refund may not be offered yet. If you are concerned that you cannot make a rearranged fixture (e.g. a fan travelling from further afield, or in an at-risk health group) then you might still wish to contact the club in question as they may refund as a gesture of goodwill, although that cannot be guaranteed.

Still unsure? We would encourage you to look on your club’s website for clarification and if you’re still unsure contact your club’s Supporter Liaison Officer or local supporters’ group (and join them!).

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Travel

All train operating companies are now offering refunds on pre-booked travel. The relevant provider should have information on their websites. If you have booked through Trainline follow this link and complete the steps to secure your amended booking or refund (Trainline have now removed their usual fee).

Many supporters travel to game by coach often on official club travel or supporters’ group coaches and refunds should be available. Most public coach services have now been suspended with the major companies such as National Express and Megabus offering refunds.

Supporters travel from across the planet to watch football in this country, so it’s best to check with your provider. A significant proportion of those travel from Ireland – see the Ryanair and Aer Lingus refund pages.

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Advice for community-owned clubs

Many FSA-affiliated supporters’ trusts part or fully-own their club. With that in mind we pulled together information which will be of particular interest to our community-owned clubs (and non-league clubs in general).

  • Business operations and legal guidance: The government has announced a range of measures to support small and medium businesses and we have collated the relevant updated information including self-employment, season planning for 2020/21 and the further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme relating to part-time workers, National Insurance and pension contributions. Download the information here….
  • Our second briefing paper has been drafted by our legal partners Gateley – it covers a range of questions clubs may have over the coming weeks and months, including commercial and contractual matters, and HR advice. Download the legal guidance notes here…
  • There’s a whole range of useful advice online too which may be helpful from the likes of Co-operatives UK and Unite. If you’ve found any other resources to be especially good let us know.

We hope that clubs are in a fortunate enough position to have sufficient resource and advice available to them through existing channels to weather the coming weeks and months, but if not please get in touch with the FSA and we’d be happy to help in offering support and advice.

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FSA AGM

This year’s FSA AGM (Saturday 18th July 2020) has been postponed due to the ongoing public health crisis. While we all hope that some level of normality will have returned by the summer, we felt it important to make the decision now in order to give members the most possible notice.

We do not yet have a new date for the AGM but will update our members as soon as there is information to share. Once a date is confirmed the venue, timings and registration details will be published on the FSA website and shared with members. The AGM provides members with an opportunity to propose motions for new policy and campaign areas. You can read up on last year’s AGM here.

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Supporter Group AGMs

Many fan groups will have been planning to use the end of the season for important business, including AGMs, meetings with accoutants and so on. Government restrictions on movement for essential journeys and social distancing pose their own problems in these circumstances. We’ve pulled together advice on how to navigate the coming months from a constitutional point of view.

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What has football done to help?

We have been blown away by the amazing work done by our supporters’ groups during this period. It’s impossible to cover them all in a few sentences but we would urge you to read our more detailed feature Football comes together in the face of COVID-19. That story generated a second wave of reports from across the country and we’ll publish those soon.

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I’d like to volunteer to help

Many of our supporters’ groups are still managing to carry out voluntary activities to help their local communities while staying within public health guidelines. Find the list of FSA affiliates and associates in your area here. The NHS also called on supporters to volunteer where possible.

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Resources for young fans

We’ve created a few worksheets for children to do whilst at home, specifically around football and what it means to be a supporter. Hopefully these will help offering another creative and learning activity to add to your schedule! They are most appropriate for primary school age children, but can work as a prompt for ideas and writing topics for middle and secondary school children, too.

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European perspective

In the same way that club-specific supporters’ groups affiliate or associate to the FSA, the FSA affiliates to Football Supporters Europe (FSE), along with national fan groups from across the continent. FSE represents our views to UEFA and other European institutions. You can see the latest news via the FSE website.

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When will the season resume?

With the swirl of stories, proposals and ‘updates’ floating around in the media, it may be hard to remember where we’re actually up to and which decisions have officially been taken by the various governing bodies on the resumption or cancellation of the 2019/20 season.

To do our part in combatting the information overload and the dreaded ‘fake news’, we’ve collated the various official announcements and latest updates from credible sources on football throughout the UK and Europe as it affects our clubs.

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What is the FSA doing?

Like everyone else during the lockdown, our activity is significantly curtailed, but we’re still working to keep supporters informed and help our community-owned clubs. We continue to liaise with the football authorities such as the FA, EFL and Premier League, in order to advise fans and influence decision-making.

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Any other questions? 

These are unprecedented times and no single organisation has all the answers. However, we are very keen to hear from fans so we can collate the most important questions for the football leagues and authorities at an appropriate time. If you think there’s something we’ve missed please send us a question.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe