SCEFL Statement: Whilst NOT a commitment or guarantee by any means, The FA said the most likely current scenario would be starting the 2020-21 campaign in September

Friday 19th June 2020

The Southern Counties East Football League has issued the following statement after The Football Association met with clubs at Steps Five and Six this lunchtime.

Summarising the main points:

Even if a League at a higher step has a vacancy caused by a club folding or requesting voluntary relegation, NO Promotion will occur and that League will run short.

The FA will look at applications to enter the pyramid to fill a vacancy (AFC Bury and Isle of Man were only ones mentioned).

The FA National Game have had a 38% cut in funding. This will impact all Non League System Leagues who will no longer receive FA Development funding, but they will still receive Administration grants at current level.

FA Vase prize money will be reduced by approx six percent.

It is The FA’s ambition still to run the FA Cup and FA Vase in full in 20/21, BUT that may not be possible and certainly with The FA Cup they are contractually bound to have The FA Cup Third Round on the opening weekend of January, so the dates and numbers of earlier rounds may be affected by that.

The Non-League Finals day at Wembley is subject to the FA calendar given that Euro 2020 matches now have to fit into 2021.

Consideration is being given to do away with Replays in both Cup and Vase to aid fitting in league fixtures.

If the season does not start in August then League and County Cups cannot be run in the traditional formats during the League playing season, but possible that new ways could be found to run Cups.

(We are awaiting further info on the 19/20 Vase season ending)

The FA stated that NLS will only re-start when the Dept of Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) gives approval AND subject to any conditions that the DCMS makes.

Games cannot re-start at Steps One to Seven of the NLS without spectators and all Steps are tied together on a restart date (eg Step Six cannot start whilst Step Three is not allowed and vice versa).

Football below Step 7 where no admission is taken may start on a different date and is subject to specific “grass-roots” Government guidance.

The FA are working on various scenarios as to when and how it affects the programme of games, this was explained as:
August – A normal season
September/October – Full League seasons to be priority with NO League or County Cups
November/January – Not possible for a full league season to be played and in this situation either half seasons (play each other once) or splitting divisions in half (probably on geographics) so that in our case we have four divisions of 10 rather than two of 20
Later than January – Worse case scenario with re-structure and Leagues maybe held over again until 2021/22 season.

Whilst NOT a commitment or guarantee by any means, The FA said the most likely current scenario would be September.

Pre-Season – The FA stated a pre-season would occur before commencement of matches, but they were not prepared to say what duration in weeks that timeframe would be.

End of season – Flexibility to go into May rather than the last weekend of April, but again this would really depend on the starting date of the season.

Possible agreement prior to restarting so that if a second spike (of the coronavirus outbreak) forced another curtailment of next season, that the Leagues could be awarded based on the percentage of games actually played at that time – details to follow.

The FA will require ALL CLUBS to produce and publish a Risk assessment and/or action plans to ensure they are Covid secure. This is specifically for clubs that are neither “elite” nor “grassroots” and will cover such things as:
– Return to full training/matches
– Use of facilities including clubhouses, dressing rooms etc
– Travel
– The volunteer workforce at each club

The FA are currently writing a guidance paper on this and it will follow to clubs in the near future.

Ground Grading: The FA have built into the temporary changes to regulations some flexibility regarding ground grading dates, whilst no specific date or rule has been changed, The FA stated that it is “Not the intention to relegate any clubs for work that Covid has meant they have been unable to do.”

Visit the Southern Counties East Football League website: