Firstly, thank-you all for the responses to the email sent out on Friday evening requesting your views on how the recent Tier announcements affect your planning to restart playing. It has provided us with a good sense of club feelings that League Chairman Bob Dallling will relay to the FA as requested.
It is evident a lot of clubs are not ready to return to playing too many fixtures prior to the holiday period and there are a great many concerns about finance.
The League Executive met to review the current situation, taking into account your feedback and as a result have made the following decisions:
· All Leagues – Premier, Division One & Division Two – will start on 12th December 2020 as previously advised
· However, no fixtures will be scheduled for Boxing Day and these have been withdrawn from Full-Time and no midweek fixtures will be played before the New Year (except on 28th December with 1400hrs kick-offs)
· Fixtures will only be played on 12th, 19th, 28th December prior to New Year & then a full programme will be scheduled for 2nd January 2021
· Clubs in Tier 3 will be suspended from playing unless matches can be scheduled with each other and this will be part of a constant review
· ALL matches will kick-off at 1400hrs thus negating the need for floodlights with a view to saving costs
· Division Two & Vets matches could be affected by further announcements about the Return to Grassroots Football due from County FAs - expected this week
· Hellenic League Cup competition matches will be suspended until it is possible to fixture
With the bulk of uhlsport Hellenic League NLS clubs being placed in Tier 2, the League aims to operate with weekend fixtures as much as is possible. This will allow clubs to maximise income from paying spectators. Kick-off times will be set at 1400hrs for weekend matches to save on floodlight costs in response to club feedback. Fixtures will be spread to meet the end of the season.
We recognise the Covid situation and the restrictions of Tier 2/3 have placed tremendous pressure on our clubs none the less on Officers, helpers, volunteers and back room assistants, many of whom are not getting any younger and some in the Shielded category. A myriad of directives almost every week from the Government, The FA, The County FA and the League has provided good information and at the same time a real headache to implement and the latest Tier 2/3 restrictions have placed even greater financial issues on our Teams and Clubs.
You can be assured, the Hellenic League will continue to lobby The FA for assistance. We will also continually review the situation in line with Government and FA guidance and hope that restrictions on the ability to sell refreshments and open bars can be lifted soon to ease the financial burden on clubs. We will look forward to 16th December when the Tier situation will be reviewed and be ready to react to any positive outcome.
Thanks for your patience and best regards
John Ostinelli – League Secretary