Northumberland FA have enforced further requirements to ensure the game can continue and meets local and national guidelines.

The new restrictions, which will come into place on Thursday night, come after the North-East was placed under heightened lockdown rules last week.

The rules for the nen’s National League System Steps three – six and Women’s Football Pyramid Steps three - six state: reduction of spectators – numbers do not exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity; all spectators should wear face coverings at all times as stated in-line with government advice; changing facilities may remain closed where the facility owner deems this to be necessary and all training must take place without spectators.

Northumberland FA’s acting chief executive, Andrew Rose-Cook, said: “I understand that people will be disappointed at being unable to spectate at many matches, but this is a step which we must take to prevent unnecessary social contact.

“Covid-19 infections are currently rising at a fast rate in the area and we cannot allow it to spread further at the social gatherings that usually accompany football. The alternative to this is the full suspension of football.”

For all adult football outside of the national league system, there is to be no spectators at training or matches.

At youth football only one parent/carer per player is allowed at matches/training, while all indoor football and futsal is banned.

The Northumberland FA said any club or participant found to be non- compliant will be charged under the regulations may have their matches suspended and / or use of facilities withdrawn.

The news comes as the national Football Association welcomed the Government’s support of grassroots football as new national restrictions were imposed this week.

A statement read: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to provide financial support to clubs and will continue to work together on a return of crowds as soon as it’s safe to do so.

But the statement also warned: “Clubs up and down the country are really struggling, and many will have been looking forward to crowds coming back in order to provide much-needed income.”