SUPPORTERS of Southern and Western League clubs have been given the green light to return to grounds from this coming Saturday - provided that Covid-19 safety measures are in place.

This week the Football Association (FA) said it would “step up efforts to get fans back into stadiums as soon as possible”, and the Southern League - in which Taunton Town play - made a statement which revealed that the FA had “submitted three proposals to DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] for the safe return of fans”.

On Tuesday evening, Nigel Huddleston - the minister for sport, tourism and heritage - tweeted: “We’ve clarified guidance for organisers of non-elite sports events to help them admit spectators safely - with social distancing.

“The FA definition of non-elite means football clubs from Level 7 (below National League North/South) can admit some spectators.”

Now the FA has released updated guidelines for clubs at Steps 3 to 6 of the National League System - covering the Southern League and Western League - to allow a phased and limited return of spectators.

Between August 22-30, fans may attend games, “providing that their number does not exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels or respective figures set out within the FA’s updated guidelines”.

From August 31, that 15 per cent is to increase to 30 per cent.

All clubs at those levels must have a designated Covid-19 officer, complete and publish bespoke risk assessments and action plans, and arrange support for Track and Trace efforts before letting fans in.

The full FA guidance can be found here.


TAUNTON Town picked up their second pre-season victory over Western League opposition this week, beating Tavistock 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Having battled back to beat Bitton 4-3 on Friday, the Peacocks went ahead against Tavistock on the half-hour, courtesy of Luke Spokes’ shot which went in off the post.

Their hosts levelled four minutes into the second half, but Howe headed in to restore Taunton's lead five minutes later.

Sullivan wrapped it up with a third goal in the 85th minute.

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Jamie Short (Jake Mawford 54), Jordan Copp, Ben Adelsbury, Nick Grimes, Joe Guest, Ollie Chamberlain (Mason Raymond 62), Ross Staley (Aaron Ward-Baptiste 50), Owen Howe, Dan Sullivan (c), Luke Spokes (Callum Watts 72).

The Peacocks continue their pre-season schedule with a game away to Exeter City on Friday, with fixtures at Willand Rovers and Paulton Rovers to follow.

No home friendlies have been announced, with club chairman Kevin Sturmey saying that the Cygnet Health Care Stadium is “not Covid-19 secure or safe as yet”.