NON-LEAGUE football clubs are gearing up for a September start to the 2020/21 campaign.

It is the ray of light teams have been waiting for, particularly after last season came to a premature ending due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Betvictor Northern Premier League, in which Witton Albion play, has a provisional start date of September 19, subject to further approval.

1874 Northwich, Northwich Victoria, Winsford United and Barnton could be in league action earlier than that, with the proposal in place for the North West Counties League season to commence on September 5.

However, the league starts are subject to change in accordance with Government guidance and approval for paying spectators.

Dates in FA knockout competitions have been issued too, the FA Cup extra preliminary round on Tuesday, September 1;

the preliminary round on Saturday, September 12; the FA Vase first qualifying round on Saturday, September 19; the second qualifying round on Saturday, October 10.

The roadmap to outdoor football's safe return in the National League System has been revealed by the FA after the UK Government approved its plan.

It means football activity can take place with necessary modifications in place to mitigate the transmission risk of Covid-19.

Currently, competitive training can occur, with groups limited to 30 people including coaches, and pre-season friendlies can be played behind closed doors from August 1.

Some key considerations need to be adhered to in order to help football restart, this includes a Covid-19 officer being appointed from their board or trustees. This person will have responsibility to ensure that club risk assessments are completed and actions undertaken.

Risk assessments will highlight how clubs can implement appropriate measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

Clubs must give particular attention to the management and operation of changing rooms to minimise their use or numbers within them at any one time.

A return to competitive football should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completed the necessary risk assessments and comprehensive plans are in place.

The FA have issued guidelines for football to return, and this includes:

Everyone should self-assess for Covid-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual Covid-19 infection you must not participate or attend

Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to Covid-19

Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play

Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session

Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play

Goal celebrations should be avoided

Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training

Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow Government advice on the use of indoor facilities;

Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle

Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace