Lancashire & Cheshire AFL return to football

Since the announcement of the Government roadmap out of lockdown, and the resumption of team sports from 29th March, the league committee have been working on assessing the options available. The FA extension to the 30th June gives three months to conclude the 20-21 season.

Following the committee assessment, we are recommending to the clubs our plan – the league divisional season is curtailed now (null and void as we are nowhere near the point where Points per game is viable). The L & C roadmap for conclusion of the season has been sent to every club and shows the government’s timetable, the committee’s decision-making to this point, and how we plan to ensure competitive football for all clubs.

Despite the league season being curtailed, the positive aspect of this is that it allows the four league cups to run in an amended format of group matches followed by quarter and semi-finals, and the final. This plan would give all teams at least five games, and take up to the end of May to complete. Full details will be made available soon.

The reality is that the remaining 682 league fixtures will not fit into three months due to ground constraints and would involve a punishing Sat/Wed/Sat schedule for the whole of the 3 months, and include some Monday matches for some teams. We all are involved to enjoy our football, this would not be enjoyable, and it would most likely fail. We should not start what we cannot finish.

The reasoning for this decision has been sent to every club; in our preparation, we ran provisional trials to see how we could fulfil all league fixtures. This proved that it would be impossible even if there were no further disruptions.

A combination of the risks that remain because of Covid-19, the punishing – and unrealistic – schedule required to fit in all fixtures, player availability due to work, family, religious commitments, as well as pitch availability, is why the L & C have decided to move forward with a more slimline, and manageable competition format to ensure the season reaches a conclusion.

If any club disagrees, or has any questions, please let us know.

All match sheets, team stats, refs marks and payments MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE 11TH MARCH to be entered into the cup draw, unless you need County FA to fix user ID problems and are in communication with us about this.