The FA is implementing temporary changes to DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks in football for the period that football is suspended due to Coronavirus, up to and including the start of the 2020/21 season. These changes are outlined below, and will apply to all roles in football.


This decision has been made in light of the current cessation of football activity, difficulties regarding online ID verification for the purposes of renewing a DBS check and demand on the DBS service due to the current health crisis.


1. All new referees, referee coaches, observers and mentors registering to officiate within youth football who will be carrying out regulated activity with under 18s (in accordance with DBS guidance) require an Enhanced DBS with a check of the Children’s Barring List before they commence their role within football. This is current practice, and will remain in place. However, we ask that new DBS checks are not submitted (from today onwards) whilst football activity remains suspended. For the avoidance of doubt, volunteers will not be permitted to carry out regulated activity with under 18s until they have obtained a DBS check. The FA will provide a further update on processing new DBS checks in due course when there is further clarity on when football activity will resume.


2. All individuals whose DBS checks are due to expire between 1st March 2020 and 1st October 2020 will not be required to renew their DBS checks until one year after the scheduled date of expiry. The FA currently requires DBS checks to be renewed every three years, in accordance with industry standards and best practice. However, we have made an informed decision to extend that to four years, in these limited circumstances, on the basis of the current health crisis, associated difficulties in DBS check renewal and the fact that these individuals already hold a DBS check which has been accepted by The FA.


a. The FA is currently proposing an end date of 1st October 2020, based on the fact that this season’s grassroots footballing activity has ended and the assumption that pre-season will commence with the start of the youth season starting September 2020. However, as circumstances develop, this date is potentially subject to change.


b. The FA’s Whole Game System will be updated to reflect these changes.


Please note that the changes outlined above are temporary, and The FA reserves the right to review and amend the position, including to reflect changes in legislation and/or statutory guidance with respect to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and further clarity on when football activity will resume. The above changes are made to support the footballing family in the immediate term and to support a return to football activity in the longer term whilst ensuring The FA’s commitment to safeguarding remains in place.


At this time, we would ask for your understanding but, if you have any specific concerns, please do contact our Referees Department.