FANS of National North and South clubs have been prohibited from attending away FA Cup ties at grounds open to supporters under new FA guidance.

Here we take a look at what it all means.

Elite v non-elite

The issue over who can host fans and attend matches centres around the status of the clubs.

All clubs in England’s sixth tier (National North and South) and above are considered elite after voting through that status in order to complete last season’s play-offs and have promotion and relegation rather than wiping all records like the rest of the National League System (leagues below) did.

It means they come under the same Covid-19 regulations as professional sport with no supporters allowed to attend matches.

It prevents National North and South clubs welcoming back crowds for the new campaign, which begins for them with the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday.

Clubs one level below can welcome up to 600 supporters with that being staggered down as far as the levels Worcester City and Worcester Raiders compete at, which are currently capped at 300.

So what’s the rule?

No fans can attend any matches hosted by an elite club in this weekend’s FA Cup second qualifying round ties.

Those hosted by non-elite clubs can only host fans from non-elite clubs, meaning those drawn against clubs below National North and South can welcome in both sets of supporters (in fact, pretty much anyone), but those playing elite opponents must open gates to home supporters only.

How do you tell where the fans are from?


Most – if not all – of these clubs have no plans to segregate and have precious little chance of verifying where supporters have come from but they are expected to adhere to only allowing home supporters through the turnstiles, irrespective of where the clubs are based.

How are these largely volunteer-run clubs expected to enforce this diligently? Particularly with less than a week’s notice.

Also, what is the difference between letting in an away fan from an lower-risk area and a home fan who may reside in a part of the country suffering a spike?

The reaction?

The bonkers part is fans can be allowed into clubhouses to watch a stream of what is happening outside, provided the match cannot be seen through windows. 

Here's the view of a manager from our patch whose side is no longer in the FA Cup...