We need to look after players' welfare, insists Lewes manager Hugo Langton, while Holmesdale boss Lee Roots says he is worried for the future of football and mental health concerns

Sunday 01st November 2020

HUGO LANGTON insists The Football Association must look after players’ welfare when they come out of the second national lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Saturday evening to confirm that a four-week lockdown will be imposed on England from Thursday 5 November 2020 until 2 December, due to a rise in Covid-19 infections.

It was evident that part-time footballers struggled with their fitness levels upon football’s return in August, after Johnson imposed a lockdown between March and August.

“So, from a football point of view and player welfare, it looks like we have no football from Thursday until 2 December as things stand,” the Lewes manager said on his Twitter account.

“So the challenge now is to keep our players as active as possible in a relevant way between now and then.

“But then what happens? So, if we go on the traditional off- season to pre-season reference of eight weeks off to six weeks on (pre-season) then this means after four weeks off we will need three weeks to prepare our players again.

“So, the next game as things stand should then be maybe Boxing Day?

“Will this be taken into consideration for the welfare of our players? The amount of anatomical injuries post-lock-down one has been high. We need to think about players’ welfare.”

A statement from The Football Association said: "We acknowledge the Government's announcement today (Saturday) regarding Covid-19 restrictions and are awaiting further information before we can confirm how this may affect non-elite football across England.

"We will communicate any necessary updates in due course."

Elite football in England comprises of the Premier League, EFL Championship, EFL League One, EFL League Two, National League, National League North and National League South - and all games must be played behind closed doors.

AFC Uckfield Town progressed through to The FA Vase Second Round with their 4-2 win over Holmesdale in Bromley on Saturday afternoon.

Their joint-manager, Steve Ives, said on the situation: "I think it's bigger than us, it's bigger than our club, it's bigger than football. 

"You're not asking for my political comment on how the Government are handling it, so I'll keep out of that but if it's deemed necessary it's out of our hands.  We've just got to take it on the chin. It's bigger than me and you isn't it, you can't stop it."

Holmesdale manager Lee Roots added: "I don't know where it will leave us as humans, as people.  I think it's going to have a huge mental problem.

"How can the Premier League carry on, I don't know how that can happen and nobody else (Isthmian League downwards) can't, don't we all have to be in sync?

"I'm not only worried about my own personal finance, health and home but in regards to football if they tell the club to continue on playing, that's down to the players to make that decision.

"I think we're moving into a really grey area and I'm worried for the future of football, not just this season but football as we know it.

"We've told the lads to be as professional as we can. We'll train on Wednesday and we'll prepare for Saturday (at home to Forest Hill Park in the tenth-tier of English football, the Southern Counties East Football League First Division).

"It's such a crazy world we're living in and we've made the lads clear that every time you go into football you should appreciate it, respect it and value it because it's a luxury to see it, talk to people and be around people at the moment.

"It looks like there's not going to be any football but how do you keep them fit?

"It's really worrying but all we can do is keep our own house in order, keep the club in order and keep the people around you safe and that's what we'll look to do really."

Meanwhile, you can read the thoughts of Margate manager Jay Saunders here.

Football is part of our culture in this country and helps a multitude of people's well-being both on and off the pitch and it cannot be allowed to stop.

Football fans should also be allowed to support their beloved clubs, if they wish to do so, inside stadia. That choice shouldn't be taken away from us by politicians.

The 2019-20 season should have been completed with promotion and relegation issues settled on the pitch and not controversially declared null and void from Step Three downwards. 

The 2020-21 season must finish, otherwise, we will have two seasons wasted and the present situation is soul-destroying for everybody concerned within our beautiful game.