L&C AGM to go ahead via video conference

The L&C has confirmed that the pre-planned AGM will still go ahead, but via video link. This latest update also contains important information about the future of cup competitions for 2019/20, as well as important information when planning training or friendlies.

  1. The 2020 AGM was already planned for 4th June, and with uncertainty as to when we will be able to hold any conventional meetings, we will hold the event over video conference.
  2. From a list of potential software to deliver this we have two new shortlisted possibilities : Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It would obviously make sense to use the one which more clubs are familiar with. Could you let me know which you have experienced, if either? Both require software to be downloaded. Another possible solution is the FA Webex system.
  3. The deadline we set for a decision on whether we play the season 19/20 cups to conclusion was set at 31st May for two reasons – teams will need time to prepare, and we would not want to impact on the main family holiday season. Also we think that if any team feel unable to play (when it is deemed safe by government and FA) we would scrap that cup for all. We will defer the decision until the end of this month as we are no clearer now than in March.
  4. Any training or plans for friendlies must be provisional pending FA clearance.
  5. Information has been issued for possible funding streams available – take advantage whilst they are available.

Planning for 2020/21 season underway

With the 2019/2020 season cancelled, the L&C has turned its attention to the 2020/2021 football season and have set out the following guidance for all club secretaries.

We are now ready to receive information from you on your intentions for your club. Anyone leaving should have informed us by 31st March, so if you have not already please let us know now.  If any first teams leave us it is likely to be from the premier division, this will create an uplift throughout all divisions to fill the gaps above.

If the number of teams you wish to run is different to 19-20, let us know.

With the possibility of teams leaving, and four new clubs joining us, it is inevitable there will be restructuring of the divisions, which has become a yearly event.

If you have a request for a particular division, please let us know. We do our best to accommodate requests, however with the general request being downward, it is not always possible to.

L&C outline financial assistance available to clubs

The league management committee is now able, following detailed consideration, to issue further information on the financial assistance we can offer to 2019-20 member clubs. In acknowledgement of clubs’ potential financial difficulties, the Committee have been looking at the best ways to help, which are as fair as possible for all clubs/teams, and are now able to announce the following :-

  • League Fees – to be carried over from Season 19/20 to Season 20/21 – a saving to every club of at least £80, more to those with multi-teams.
  • Cup Fees – if the cup competitions for Season 19/20 complete then no action. If the competitions cannot be  completed, then the cup entry fees will also be rolled over to Season 20/21 with a saving of £28 per team.
  • New clubs entering the League for the first time will be charged all fees as normal.
  • Invoices will be issued at the beginning of August as usual and the appropriate credits as  above will be shown. These will also include any outstanding amounts carried over from Season 19/20 in respect of unpaid fines, and the second half of registrations for Season 19/20. However we are pleased to announce these registrations will be at a one-off discounted rate of £2 per player. 
  • Invoices will be asked to be paid by Sept 30th, but any club with issues meeting this date should contact the treasurer direct at the appropriate time.
  • Of course should any club prefer to pay their registrations in advance of August 2020, then please let the treasurer know and an invoice can be issued.

We trust that everyone will be able to see that the League, being a not-for-profit organisation has made a substantial effort to provide assistance. The savings to clubs detailed above will result in a contribution from the League of approximately £7,500.

We hope that you and your families are keeping well, in what is a very difficult time for everyone.

If there are any queries, please contact Philip Faulkner treasurer@landc.org.uk

Amateur football participation: L&C members taking proactive approach

It almost seems a different world away now, but as recently as February, participation numbers in the Lancashire & Cheshire AFL were causing real concern.

The amateur football league, which has been a vital part of the various communities in the region for more than 110 years, has suffered from declining numbers that have resulted in the reduction in number of leagues and in the 2019/20 season, seven teams have been lost – victims of declining participation.

The coronavirus outbreak has put paid to the league season, which has been declared null and void; wiggle room has been left for the cup competitions to reach a conclusion, though that is of course subject to change.

Over the course of a matter of weeks, the narrative has changed; football has rightly taken a back seat to the much more fundamentally important issue of health.

But the L&C is more than just football; the league provides a sense of community, togetherness and belonging – all of which will be important when amateur football is able to resume.

When that happens, the participation question will remain an important one to answer for the future of competition, but football clubs in the league are working hard to find solutions to the falling numbers.

The current league structure consists of seven divisions – Premier Division down to Third Division, followed by Divisions A, B and C.

As recently as 2013, there were 10 divisions but slowly, these have fallen away; that season, Division F was dissolved, followed by Division E three years later, and finally Division D in 2018.

The falling numbers are highlighted by the fall in the number of teams over the past eight years.

In 2012, there were 117 sides competing in the L&C. Five years on, that number was 90 and now, there are 81.

The voided season has seen seven teams unfortunately drop out – Old Ashtonians, Unicorn, Didsbury, Swinton, and Barr Hill have all folded, whilst Chorltonians and Spurley Hey have each lost a team as the battle for player numbers became too much.

It is undoubtedly a pattern that will cause concern, but the league’s remaining clubs remain defiant, and are responding proactively in order to avoid a similar fate to those teams that have gone before them.

Networking and the power of youth

Milton currently run two teams; half a decade ago, this was three, but they too have fallen victim to the changes in grassroots football participation.

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The club’s secretary, Sam Johnson, has highlighted change in work and life circumstances as key drivers in changing player participation; the 28-year-old said the cohort of players who he has played with have grown up together and provided consistent numbers, but are at the stage where life understandably changes and so do commitments.

He said: “I’m 28 now so you’re getting to the stage where people are getting married, have other commitments, are having children, have weddings. This is combined with lower participation in younger children, late teens, people going to university and not getting into playing football.”

But Milton are working hard as a committee to find solutions to these numbers; a common theme has been tapping into youth set-ups, and partnering with these.

The hope is that, by affiliating with under-18s and junior clubs, Milton can encourage a cohort who have played together for years to come through the ranks at the same time, as playing with friends is a vital pull in the grassroots game.

All those who play key roles in helping the club function understand the power of networking too, reaching out to friends, work colleagues, friends of family, to offer opportunities.

Statement from the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL

Following the FA announcement of the 26th March, the management committee have considered the situation and have decided that the league divisional programme 2019-2020 is null and void. There will be no trophies or medals awarded. Furthermore the league presentation dinner which was to be held on 15th May has been cancelled.

We understand there will be concern over finances; with this in mind, do assess your financial position, but do not send to us at this stage. The league committee will meet as soon as the crisis is over and work out a plan to give as much help as possible.

We do have a plan which would allow the League Cup competitions to be completed, if the go ahead to resume football activity is received by the end of May. We are going to discuss the possibility of this with the County FA and will report the outcome.

We hope that you are all safe and well, and look forward to normal life resuming.

Grassroots football postponed with immediate effect

The FA has confirmed that grassroots football in England has been postponed due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

It comes after the government’s latest update which advises people to avoid social contact and gatherings unless absolutely necessary.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus has increased once again and as such, the health and wellbeing of people is of the utmost priority.

This decision not only includes matches, but training sessions are to cease with immediate effect too.

Until any updates to the contrary, this advice remains the protocol that all clubs must abide by.

All Grassroots Football Postponed

To All Club Secretaries and Participants in the L & C AFL, please see the announcement below.

 Note that it applies to training as well as matches.

 Kind Regards, Brian Davies, League Secretary

From: Colin Bridgford <Colin.Bridgford@manchesterfa.com>
Sent: 16 March 2020 18:54
To: Colin Bridgford <Colin.Bridgford@manchesterfa.com>
Subject: FA Announcement – All Grassroots Football Postponed
Importance: High

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Dear Clubs and Leagues,

The FA has this evening confirmed the postponement of grassroots football in England with immediate effect.

Following the Government’s announcement today, for people to avoid social contact and gatherings where possible, we are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future.

Throughout this period, we have taken Government advice with the priority being the health and wellbeing of all. We will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time.

We are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review. Further updates will follow as needed.

Manchester FA would like to remind all stakeholders within grassroots football in Manchester of the importance of abiding by the latest advice, which comes in with immediate effect.  Please note that this also applies to both training sessions and matches.

The above will remain in place until any future updates are provided by either The FA centrally or on behalf of The FA from ourselves.