Kent FA scrap County Cup competitions during season 2020-2021
The Kent Football Association has controversially scrapped all of their County Cup competitions for the 2020-2021 season.
“Following a board meeting on Monday 17 August 2020, the Kent FA can confirm that the 2020-21 County Cup programme will be cancelled,” said their statement.
“As part of the club affiliation package that was announced in June 2020, all Kent affiliated clubs received free entry into the 2020-2021 County Cups. This free entry will be honoured for the 2021-2022 season.
“It was also agreed that the outstanding Kent FA County Cup fixtures from the 2019-2020 season will be completed during the 2020-2021 season."
This will mean that Lloyd Blackman's Whitstable Town side can host Gillingham in the Kent Senior Cup Semi-Finals, while the winners will contest the showpiece final against Dartford.
Steve King's side beat Phoenix Sports 5-1 at Princes Park on 3 March 2020.
“While we understand that many clubs will be disappointed, there are several factors which have impacted this outcome,” added the statement.
“Firstly, we felt it was important to conclude the 2019-20 County Cup programme and recognise the clubs who had worked hard to reach these finals and deserve the full match-day experience, which Kent FA Cup Finals aim to deliver.
“These fixtures will be fulfilled in the 2020-21 season.
“In order to have a minimal impact on League fixtures, it will not be possible to also deliver a full County Cup programme for the 2020-21 season.
“Four our senior Leagues, the season is already starting a month late and we also need to consider the potential for a second spike in Covid-19 and the possibility of localised lockdowns.
“It is not unreasonable to assume that the new season is going to face interruptions; and clubs and Leagues will need to overcome many challenges to complete League fixtures.
“It was felt that the added pressure of a County Cup programme would make this even more challenging, particularly if there is fixture congestion.
“The Kent FA is extremely proud of our County Cup programme and the number of teams who enter.
“We hope these teams will understand the rationale behind this decision and we would like to reassure all that our offer of free entry to the 2020-21 County Cups will be honoured for the 2021-22 season.”
All Leagues from Step Three downwards were declared null and void and records expunged due to the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020
However, the UK Government announced on Tuesday that limited crowds can return to stadia if the club plays at Step Three of the National League System (Isthmian Premier downwards).
However, instead of spending this month playing pre-season friendlies, August and September should have been used to complete the 2019-20 campaign and start the following season in October.
Meanwhile, the London Football Association are staging two of their major Cup Finals at Cray Valley and Fisher.
The London Senior Trophy Final between AFC Cubo and Peckham Town takes place next Friday 28 August (19:45) at Cray Valley's Middle Park Avenue ground in Eltham, while the London Junior Cup Final between holders HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee and FC Hamlets take place the following day, Saturday 29 August (13:00), at Fisher's St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road in Rotherhithe.