As communicated in the February newsletter, it is the League Committee’s intention to restart the 2020-21 season from where it was paused and to conclude the season by the previously agreed date of the 31st May.
The details of the plan have been emailed to all Club Secretaries today (11th March) and these will be cascaded by Club Secretaries to all Member Teams. We kindly ask that any queries to the League Committee are sent through your Club Secretary.
Age groups U7 to U11
For these age groups all remaining fixtures will be development fixtures, they have been scheduled from the 11th April through to the 30th May. If a team cannot fulfil one or all of these planned fixtures, then please let us know and we will simply cancel the fixtures and look to see if alternative fixtures are available to be scheduled for the opposition team.
Age groups U12 to U18
There are still over 900 fixtures to play in the time we have remaining. It is possible to finish the season, but it will require the help, support and flexibility of Clubs and Teams to ensure that these fixtures are played.
Team withdrawals: It may be that some teams do not want to play in the remainder of the season for a number of different reasons, and that is OK. If you have such a team then you can withdraw them from the League for the remainder of this season, and they can then restart in 2021-22. If a team is withdrawn before 1pm on Friday 2nd April, then no fine will be imposed under Rule 11(B). Please communicate this through your Club Secretary.
Double headers : Teams that still have to play each other twice will have their fixtures scheduled as a double header. There are still many of these and this will greatly help reduce mid-week fixtures. A double header is 2 individual matches played back-to-back, two separate results will have to be submitted to FULL-TIME. To achieve this you will need to play the minimum time per half as defined in the League rules and not the maximum as is normally the case. Further details are included in the information sent to Club Secretaries.
Postponements: If teams need to postpone a fixture for reasons other than the weather, then they will need to bring the fixture forward and get agreement with the opposition when it can be played.
Easter holidays: Easter Sunday is the first Sunday of the restart period and so playing on that day is optional, but we ask all teams to consider if they could bring forward games to any of the 4 days of the Easter period or the school holidays, especially given that there is little else you can do before we reach Step 2 of the COVID roadmap!
There is one final caveat to all of this, the FA are yet to issue their guidance for the restart of football and we cannot restart until we have it. Hopefully it will not contain any surprises that would impact the plan we have.
It is nearly time to restart football, but until then please remember that everyone needs to adhere to the current guidelines in which fixtures and training are suspended for all indoor and outdoor youth grassroots football.
Finally, the League Committee would like to pass on their thanks to everyone for their support to date, and for their help in trying to get the 20/21 season concluded.
With good weather and no further COVID restrictions we believe that we can conclude this season and avoid a repeat of last season. But this is going to have to be a joint effort; there will be challenges with pitch congestion and availability, so teams will have to be flexible in terms of reversing fixtures and identifying alternative dates and KO times etc.