Southern Counties East Football League: We will only begin if supporters are allowed into grounds

Friday 31st July 2020

The Southern Counties East Football League will kick-off it’s 2020-21 campaign on Saturday 5 September 2020 – but only if the UK Government allow people to attend football matches.

The League held their Annual General Meeting online this evening and issued the following statement.

“The League has held its start date of 5 September but we will only begin if supporters are allowed into grounds.

“If the League has not had a positive response from The FA regarding supporter attendance by 22 August then we will delay the season by one week, then wait until the 29 August to hear from them before delaying another week and so on.

“We fully expect an update before the 22nd but we need to set a deadline.

“League fixtures will not be able to be released until late August and will be released a few weeks fixtures at a time for much of the early part of the season.

“This job has been made particularly tricky this year due to the late kick-off, League’s above kicking off at different times, plus the fact that many council-owned pitches are not in playable shape.

“We will publish on our website over the weekend the answers to all the questions sent in regarding the safe restart of football in our League.

“A reminder that given the shortened season, The FA Cup and Vase competitions taking place and the indication that county cups could also be played, the board have decided not to proceed with the Challenge Cup for the 2020-21 season.

“We would like to remind all clubs that government guidelines prevent the admission of supporters into their grounds for their pre-season games.”

The League have confirmed that player registrations will be accepted by their registration secretary from tomorrow and that an EGM has been arranged for Thursday 13 August to finalise the matters that they were not able to resolve this evening.

Meanwhile, Isthmian League and Southern Counties East Football League teams have been banned letting in fans for tomorrow’s opening pre-season fixtures, however, clubs in the Kent County League Premier Division (Step Seven) and below have been granted permission to let people in to watch them play.

Kent County League Premier Division outfit Crockenhill welcome Belvedere to Wested Meadow tomorrow (14:00).

“It’s our understanding that fans are allowed into Step Seven grounds providing we socially distance,” said a Crocks statement.

“The clubhouse has had necessary adaptations and the ground has plenty of room to keep apart.

“Fans are welcome, providing it meets The FA’s COVID-19 guidelines.  The clubhouse has had necessary amendments out in place to adhere to social distancing already.”

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