uhlsport Hellenic League Chairman Bob Dalling provides information on how fixtures will be managed to ensure the numerous postponed games are completed prior to season end.
As previously stated the League Policy is to remove the procedural pre/post-match handshake until further notice. The FA is actively monitoring and adopting Government advice.
Fixtures to end of the Season (the weather strikes back)
History :- For some years The uhlsport Hellenic League clubs experienced an unsatisfactory end-of-season fixture pile up caused by trying to slot matches that were postponed earlier (mainly due to poor winter weather) into the latter stages of the season. Personally I have seen situations of clubs playing four games in five days. So the League made changes to way the Fixture List was managed. The aim was to have played a proportionally higher than expected number of games prior to the unpredictable bad weather period (55% to 60% by the mid-point of the season). Matches were ‘brought forward’ from their end of season date to be played earlier. This worked well and a fixture pile-up has been avoided.
All of this takes a great deal of hard work from our Fixture Coordinator Mike Markham and CEO Brian King.
Where are we now?:- The weather has ‘struck back’ and produced a record breaking period (November to March and on-going) of wet conditions. More fixtures than ever have been postponed.
However the situation is not unretrievable.The FA requirement is that all League Matches at Steps 5 (Premier Division) & 6 (Division One E&W) must be completed by Saturday April 25th. This is in order for the Step 4 / Step 5 Play-Off matches for Promotion / Relegation to be played on Saturday May 2nd (May 3rd by agreement). Season extensions will not be granted.
Therefore after this Saturday (March 7th) we have 7 available weekends plus 7 mid-weeks to complete the League fixtures and bring our Cup Competitions to the Final stage.
What does this mean: - Step 5 (Premier Division) The fixture program is broadly built on playing the long distance (East to West) games at weekends with the shorter distance games (within the East & within the West) at weekends.
Hence there will be a need for some clubs to play two games in a single mid-week period and some of these may be long distance.
For this to happen your understanding and cooperation will be required. Every effort will be made to minimise inconvenience.
Step 6 (Division One) Again there may be a need for a few clubs to play two games in a single mid-week period.
Division 2 There may be the need for some mid-week fixtures. Whilst this is easier for clubs with access to floodlights, reluctantly there may be a need to stage early evening ‘day-light’ fixtures as we move into April.
This makes a challenging end to the season. Having read the above and if your club has any ‘lateral thinking’ style suggestions, such as ‘hiring a suitable alternative venue’, ‘staging two home matches on the same day’, or ‘making your facilities available to another club’ please let us know.
Plans are already in progress for next season’s fixture schedule policy. This time with the aim of countering another long wet winter. We do not pretend to have a monopoly on good ideas and would appreciate any written input from our clubs.