EFL Protocols Put Blame Potential Clearly Onto ClubsPeter Houghton
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.