EFL Protocols Put Blame Potential Clearly Onto Clubs

EFL Protocols Put Blame Potential Clearly Onto Clubs

With League 2 closed off for the season and League 1 going to the pools today, the FSOA has finally had sight of the draft protocols document issued by the EFL to its clubs.

Immediately noticeable is that it was addressed to Club Chairs, Club Secretaries and Chief Executives and there was no mention of Safety Officers. This is particularly pertinent as one of the key features is that each Club must appoint a COVID-19 officer:

Each sport’s/club’s Accountable Officer should name an existing member of staff as a COVID-19 officer, who will be responsible for oversight of the COVID-19 risk assessments, ensuring the necessary level of risk mitigations are in place and the minimum guidance are achieved has taken place and that sports and any partners/hosts can adhere to their guidance responsibilities within local constraints.

We are already starting to see, that despite some of our colleagues still being on furlough, or working from home, and 25 May being the proposed date for team’s to re-commence training, Safety Officers being nominated as the “Covid-19 Officer” in addition to the other duties they have at the Football Club.

We have seen practically no involvement from Safety Officers and yesterday we heard that as many as two-thirds of Medical Officers attached to Clubs have not been involved in the restart planning despite them having to write Risk Assessments to mitigate whatever problems the resumption of football matches might provide. There is also guidance in terms of stadium cleaning a further addition that will ultimately be the responsibility of the Safety Officer/COVID-19 Officer.

There is clearly no doubt that in the event of a COVID-19 related incident at a football stadium throughout the restart period, any blame is designed to land squarely upon the Club and in particular the responsible person. This is despite the restart being forced upon Clubs and a Risk Template that is not designed for you to say “No”. Safety Officers are already commenting via the forum and by calls to myself and John asking us what happens if a Safety Officer doesn’t feel it suitable to sign the Stadium off as safe.

Although there will continue to be signposts to the situation in Germany, we need to take into account the statistics which show that Germany has had a total of 177842 cases and 8193 deaths (538 – 70 yesterday) and that the UK has 248818 cases and 35341 deaths (2412 – 545 yesterday). The UK situation is nowhere near under the same control as Germany, yet we still seem to be trying to reset football much too early. I’m sure that part of it is that by the time games are played, the figures may be more favourable, but we won’t know this until closer to the time.

The EFL has issued its own template with a point-scoring outcome. We would recommend that you think in terms of ensuring that you use our own template which is very thorough and can be easily transposed on to the EFL version and then just as equally into whatever Risk Assessment you end up providing.

Don’t forget, the document is in the documents section of the website and John & I are here to help if we can.

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Comment (1)

  • John Newsham
    John Newsham

    Good morning all.
    In relation to the above from Peter Houghton, I would like to make a couple of comments. One is that I have read the EFL’s return to training document and in my opinion it covers all basis of what you as a club or the EFL require regarding completing the Covid-19 risk assessment. I know they have seen the risk analysis that I did for you all to consider and it is my belief after having long conversations with the EFL, that they have used most or parts of it to assist them in formulating their current document. I firmly believe that you should use their document but also as an aside to cross reference it against the risk analysis that I provided for the FSOA members.
    On the second note the EFL are not saying that the safety officer has to be the covid-19 officer.( THE APPOINTMENT OF A COVID-19 OFFICER IS GOVERNMENT ADVISE) After speaking to the EFL to ascertain clarification on this, what they want to be clear about is that a current member of club staff should be appointed to undertake this role and to oversee that when the risk assessment is completed that it is then disseminated to everyone at the club including players. The club can appoint any club employee or a private consultant but must have the qualifications, knowledge and understanding of the requirements to undertake the risk assessment. The appointment of the covid-19 officer does NOT have to be the safety officer, this could be a health and safety officer or the club secretary and in my opinion if the club does have a health and safety officer then this role should be added to their duties. Some safety officers would want to take this role so that they can then control the process from start to finish and I see nothing wrong with that. It is therefore my belief that you should speak to the board and agree 1 who will be appointed to undertake the assessment? 2 who will be the nominated covid-19 officer? and 3 who will have total responsibility for it.
    Regards

    John N

    21st May 2020 at 11:06 am

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