Sevenoaks Town Football Club have been getting ready for the new season since lockdown started back in March. Paul Lansdale, the club’s Chairman, knew that it wasn’t going to be a simple and easy process navigating the various guidelines and instructions from the government and governing bodies (The FA), but the job he and his committee have done surpasses the minimal requirements by far.
This month see’s the return of training at the Bourne Stadium in Greatness Park, and with over 1,000 club members ranging from juniors to veterans, the club knew that being Covid-compliant and secure was going to take a monumental effort.
Firstly, they will start to use a new track and trace application which will let the club know they have arrived for their training session and will be greeted at the turnstile with a heat camera, multiple hand-sanitising stations and a one-way system in place around the pitch.
The club have introduced a quarantine room which has been set up (at this time) using the officials changing room and if anyone at the ground should fall ill during training or a match, then they will be subjected to isolation with full PPE, which will be provided on site.
Wetton Cleaning Services, who have been working on Wembley Stadium for the recent FA Cup matches (including the final) have been providing the majority of the sanitising solution for the club with the goal-posts and touchpoints having been sprayed with a 30-day sanitising solution and Wettons measure all the key touchpoints every week to assure the club they are operating within a Covid-secure environment.
On a matchday
Once match day arrives, and it is still too early to say when this will be, although the club suggests their first match maybe their FA Cup qualifier on Saturday 12th September, the club’s track and trace app will be put in place for spectators to enter the ground with cashless payments at the turnstiles, where screens have also been erected.
Paul said: “As from August our effortless and secure check-in track and trace QR code system will be in place at the Bourne Stadium, just point your mobile phone camera at the code and enter your details”.
Sevenoaks Town FC will most probably start their season on Saturday 12th September behind closed doors, when it is believed they will play in the FA Cup preliminary round. Their last match in the competition saw them lose 4-0 to Corinthian-Casuals on Saturday 7th September, 2019 in the first qualifying round.
A Football Association view
James Kendall, Director of Football Development at The FA, said: “We’re delighted that the Government has given the go-ahead for competitive grassroots football to return. The past few months have been some of the most challenging times not just for football, but across society, and today’s news will be welcomed by the grassroots football community all over the country.
“Now that we are able to look ahead to the new season, it is crucial that we continue to do all we can to follow safety measures, both as advised by the government and specifically for football.
“I would encourage anyone returning to competitive grassroots football to take the time to read the guidance, prepare thoroughly and to adopt our recommended approach to phasing football back in.”
We are sure that the players, staff, and spectators at Sevenoaks Town will all adhere to the guidelines and Paul and his committee should be commended for such a huge effort in getting football back on at the ground.
The club are on the lookout for more match-day volunteers and will personally train those who are interested in becoming a Covid-secure member of the club.
• Wetton Cleaning Services have also helped Sevenoaks Hockey Club and Sevenoaks District Council becoming Covid-secure with the same technology.