Coronavirus Crisis: Isthmian League suspended for a week: We understand the enormous financial impact this will have on many club’s but the board feels that it is better to err on the side of caution at this time
The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest.
A statement from the EFL said: “This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of Clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus.
“The postponements include all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures.
“In addition, club’s are being advised to suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings.
“Whilst the EFL Board has continued to take the advice and guidance offered by the Government and its health advisors, emerging developments mean now is the time to implement football’s contingency plans in response to the crisis.
“A further update on these plans will be given post an EFL Board Meeting next week.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the Government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak.”
Meanwhile, the Isthmian League South East Division game between Sevenoaks Town and Guernsey at Greatness Park tomorrow has been postponed due to Guernsey being banned from travelling.
An Isthmian League statement said: “The Green Lions have been advised by their State Government that islanders should avoid travelling into and out of the Bailiwick for non-essential reasons with immediate effect.
“The club will continue to review the situation and make a further statement next week.”
A statement from the Southern Counties East Football League said: “We are currently working with The FA to decide on which course of action is to be taken and a statement is to be announced shortly.”
The Kent County League said: “Regarding this weekend’s fixtures, we are currently waiting for guidance from The FA, we will update ALL ASAP.
“The League programme will continue as planned,” the League added at lunchtime.
“We await a further update and guidance from The FA. We will contact club’s by email, website and twitter if anything changes.
“The committee will meet if necessary and continues to monitor things.”
Oliver Ash, the co-owner of National League South side Maidstone United, warns of severe consequences if non-league football suffers a shutdown.
“Surely the National League must follow the EFL lead and suspend matches until further notice. Many National League club's attract bigger crowds,” Mr Ash said on Twitter.
“The FA must then act to protect and help non-league club's deal with the financial consequences, which could be severe.”
Darryl Haden, the chief executive at The Kent FA said in a statement:
“I have been trying to get an update all morning from The FA regarding the situation of coronavirus.
“The advice from The FA is that any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each League as autonomous bodies within the game. This is in line with government advice at this time.
“It is not felt that all grassroots fixtures need to be cancelled as a matter of course at this time, although some may need to be if teams are self-isolating and are unable to play, or if teams are concerned about playing and the League agrees to postpone.
“I would advice all Leagues to show common sense and if there are teams that have players or coaching staff in self isolation then that fixture is postponed.
“This is an evolving situation and there may well be changes in this advice that is given. If this is the case I will contact clubs directly and will ensure that any update is published on our website and social media channels.”
Sunday’s Kent Youth League games are set to go ahead, as planned, confirms chief executive Ken Brooke.
“After much consultation the League will permit games to continue based on the fact that the players are still attending schools,” said a League statement.
“Should that change then so will the League’s position – this has the backing of The Kent FA.
“There is also an option given to club’s to apply for a postponement if any coaches, managers have self-isolated and a detailed email has been sent to all club secretaries.
“Common sense must apply and we are doing our best and realise that this will split opinion.
“Please understand that The FA should be making these decisions. This is not my full-time job.”
The Southern Football League has decided to postpone all of their games between 14-22 March and more information will be published in due course.
However, The National League has confirmed that matches in their three divisions are going ahead tomorrow, as planned.
“Following a board meeting held today, the National League has decided to allow matches in its three divisions to proceed as planned this weekend,” said a statement.
“The National League will keep the operation of its competition under constant and diligent review, and will remain in compliance with government advice at all times.
“The Football Association has offered its guidance, and made it clear the decision to continue or to suspend a competition is a matter for each league to make.
“The National League places the welfare and well-being of all those involved in and connected to its competition as the highest priority.
All clubs and supporters are encouraged to stay up to date with the latest public health advice.”
However, tonight’s National League game between Solihull Moors and Harrogate Town, has been postponed.
“it is with regret that we have cause to apply to the National League for the postponement of our fixture this evening with Solihull Moors,” said second-placed Harrogate Town.
“We have four employees currently under self-isolation and we have a duty of care for the health and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters.
“This has been accepted by The National League and we have received confirmation this evening’s game is OFF.”
The Isthmian Football League have postponed their fixtures for the next week and understand the enormous financial impact that this decision will have on all of their member club’s.
“The safety and wellbeing of all those associated with the League – our players, volunteers, club officials, match officials and supporters – is our number one priority and we are closely monitoring the situation and carefully following the advice from Public Health England,” said League chairman Nick Robinson.
“The board has decided that as an immediate step matches scheduled for tomorrow and next midweek will be postponed and we will review the situation daily as to when fixtures can recommence.
“We understand the enormous financial impact this will have on many club’s but the board feels that it is better to err on the side of caution at this time.
“We hope that by taking this step we can delay the spread of the virus and we earnestly hope that with the right approach there will be as few persons as possible suffering either directly or indirectly.
“We look forward to the resumption of the fixtures as soon as possible.”
The Southern Counties East Football League confirmed at five o'clock that it's business as usual tomorrow with all games going ahead, as planned.
"Based on the advice of the Football Association and County FAs, the Southern Counties East League are recommending that clubs proceed with their fixtures as normal as things currently stand," said the League statement.
"The government are not advising that sporting events be postponed or suspended at this stage.
"As previously stated, pre-match Fair Play handshakes should not take place and to follow the hygiene guidance provided by Public Health England and the NHS.
"In addition, if any club is concerned or anyone displays symptoms and is in self-isolation, then they should contact the League Secretary."
Corinthian were scheduled to be playing Northern League side Hebburn Town in a two-legged FA Vase Semi-Final later on in the month.
The home leg at Gay Dawn Farm is scheduled for next Saturday, 21 March, with the second leg up in the North East seven days later.
However, The Northern League have issued a statement suspending their fixtures between now and Friday 3 April and a decision about what happens to the FA Vase ties will be made on Monday.
Erith & Belvedere - bottom of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division - have postponed their game at Tunbridge Wells tomorrow.
A club statement said: "Very sorry to report that two Deres players have been sent home from work today and instructed to self-isolated, so in view of the current health situation and being cautious with regard to their team-mates and opposition, tomorrow's game against Tunbridge Wells has been postponed."
This page will be updated during the day with any further developments on this story which effects Kent club's.