All non-elite football suspended in line with November coronavirus lockdown


Football. - Credit: Archant

All ‘non-elite’ football in England will be suspended in line with the Government lockdown for England, the FA has announced.

Clubs from steps three to six were waiting for guidance from the sport’s governing body before postponing fixtures during the month-long lockdown from Thursday, November 5.

But on Tuesday (November 3) the FA confirmed all fixtures and training for steps three to six of the National League System would be suspended.

It means Bideford and Barnstaple Town in the step four Southern League Division One South, and the step six South West Peninsula League which includes Ilfracombe Town, Torrington, Torridgeside and Holsworthy, will not play until December 5.

The decision also applies to tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP]; Regional NLS Feeder Leagues; The Barclays FA WSL Academy League; FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs, and indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.

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The statement from the FA said: “Our aim is to ensure that the 2020-21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations [CFAs] to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required.

“The UK Government has confirmed that school sport can continue as an exemption during this period.

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“In addition, the UK Government has confirmed that all Emirates FA Cup First Round fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend between Friday, November 6 and Monday, November 9 2020. The 10 ‘non-elite’ clubs that remain in the competition will be able to play their fixtures under ‘elite’ protocols.

“In line with the new national Covid-19 restrictions, these ‘non-elite’ teams are only permitted to train together until Wednesday 4 November 2020.

“Further updates on fixtures and dates for the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will follow in due course.

“Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and we would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions.

“However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions during this period.

“We remain in dialogue with the DCMS, leagues, competitions and CFAs and will provide further clarification for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the debate in the House of Commons tomorrow.”

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