Coronavirus | Leagues suspended

Matchday football

Update: 13/03/2020

Leagues suspended

The PFA welcomes the decision from the Premier League and English Football League to suspend games until 3rd April 2020.

We have been in regular dialogue with both the leagues and have communicated direct concerns from PFA delegates and senior players on behalf of their respective squads. The leagues shared these concerns.

Collectively the stakeholders have made a decision based on the safety and welfare of players, club staff and fans.

Coronavirus Advice For PLayers and Clubs

Sent: 11/03/2020

This week the PFA has been part of a global discussion with other player associations at FIFPRO to look at a coordinated industry response to the coronavirus.

PFA Deputy Chief Executive, Bobby Barnes was representing the PFA in Amsterdam this week – he explained further:

“Along with other player associations from around the world, we have been in meetings with FIFPRO this week to discuss all eventualities and potential next steps with regards to the coronavirus.

“I have also been directly involved in conversations with other relevant authorities, including UEFA, on this matter.

“This is a very fast-moving situation which is subject to change on an hourly basis. We are discussing with governing bodies, not only in the UK but also globally, to ascertain the best advice and information for our members.

“Players will and should be taking medical advice from the appropriate medical staff at their individual clubs together with their respective government’s national advice at this time.

Barnes concluded: “It is important to stress that this is a public health issue, not just for football, but the wider community - that should be on the forefront of everybody’s minds when making decisions.”

The PFA will continue to monitor the situation domestically and have an open dialogue with the leagues. The safety of players, fans and everyone that works within the game is the top priority.

As a result of meetings this week, we are circulating the following advice and guidance to players and clubs:  

Players and staff

  • Do not drink from the same water bottle during the game or training, but always use a personalised water bottle and do not exchange other items (towels, bathrobes, etc.) with other players. 
  • Avoid eating food in the changing room. 
  • Keep your personal items and clothes in your bag and avoid leaving them exposed in the changing rooms or the communal baskets.
  • Throw used tissues or other used materials like plasters, bandages etc. immediately into the appropriate lockable containers.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly as often as possible: hand washing and disinfection are essential to prevent infection. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then dry them with a disposable towel after rinsing them thoroughly; if soap and water are not available, you can also use a hand disinfectant. 
  • When using ordinary toilets, you should not touch the tap before and after washing your hands, but use disposable towels to open and close the tap.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue – preferably disposable – or with your arm, but not with your hand.
  • Players who show obvious symptoms of respiratory infection and/or fever before, during or after training must immediately leave the rest of the team - and isolate themselves if possible - and inform the club's doctor.
  • If the symptoms appear outside a training session, the player should avoid all contact and meetings with other team players and, if possible, isolate themselves. Players should contact their club doctor by telephone, and can also call the NHS 111 coronavirus service. To protect yourself and others, do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital.
  • If a player has been in any contact – either personally or within their family – with persons who have returned from risk areas, or quarantine, they must inform the team players and the club officials immediately.
  • If you have been in a risk area yourself, you must inform other players and club officials immediately.


In addition to the above, we advise that all clubs take the following measures:

  • Clubs should install automatic dispensers with appropriate disinfectant and cleaning solutions in both dressing rooms and toilets of the club.
  • The club should ensure that tables, benches, chairs, hangers, floors, taps, handles, showers and toilets are regularly disinfected with disinfectant solutions based on bleach or chlorine.
  • The club should take care to limit the presence of people in the changing room to a few specific authorised persons in order to limit the number of people accessing communal areas as much as possible.
  • Clubs should limit access to the field of play as far as possible to those who are strictly necessary to carry out the training sessions. 
  • The club doctors should pay particular attention to the medical history, objective examination and, also consider taking player’s temperature before each training session and before a match – including all team personnel, technicians and players. The team doctor should ensure that no sick persons take part in the match or training or are in the team's vicinity. 
  • Clubs should check in advance the hygienic conditions of all changing rooms, including the changing rooms of the host team, referees and ball boys/girls, as well as the room prepared for doping tests. 
  • Medical staff at clubs should actively participate in the organisation of the trips by checking the best logistical aspects and foreseeing possible protective devices for preventive purposes. They should ensure their presence throughout the trip. 
  • Clubs should ensure that the health and medical staff, doctors and masseurs who are in constant contact with the players do not simultaneously work in environments or carry out external activities that could be contagious. 
  • It is advisable to avoid the presence of media people in the changing rooms during the time before matches or training sessions.

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