League Diversity and Inclusion

The Lancashire and Cheshire AFL, a football league with a diverse membership condemns and abhors any form of discrimination, typified by the racism England footballers have been subjected to, especially after the way our England team have lifted and galvanised this country in the face of a life stealing pandemic.

We all need to do more to eradicate this type of behaviour from a small minority who hide behind a computer screen or deface a mural late at night.

We call upon the authorities and social media companies to do more, and as individuals we will do more ourselves to enjoy our national sport and treat it for what it is “a game”.

Footballers are human and like us all they fail and lose, but let’s lose and win together.

The league Diversity & Inclusion group will debate this and other issues at a date to be announced, so please look out for the invitation to join us.

The L & C Committee

League Closes New Applications for the 21-22 season

The popularity of the league hit new heights during the 20-21 season and in the last few weeks new enquiries have continued to come.

A record 25 enquiries have been received. Four new clubs have been elected to the membership at the AGM in early June, Baguley Athletic, Eccles United, Milltown FC and Milnrow Firgrovia.

There could be other clubs who will be co-opted in the coming weeks if their applications which are in progress are successful.

Kits for Africa – Salford Victoria Kit Collection/donation

Please see Chris Carney’s message and get in touch if you can help with this worthy cause.

As we come out of lockdown we are getting kits together again to donate to sub Saharan African teams if any L & C teams have any old kits they would like to donate they would be much appreciated. If they get in touch with me I will sort out details of getting them.

Chris Carney

Salford Victoria

Email chrisdcarney@hotmail.com

First match day cup fixtures now available

This week’s L & C update provides details on where to find the first match day of cup fixtures for when the restructured fixture list resumes next month.

  1. Reminder – tomorrow 29th March 7PM there will be a General Meeting via Zoom (invites sent yesterday), which clubs must attend to hear all the arrangements.
  2. Moston Brook 4th Team are looking for an away friendly, next Saturday 3rd April. Contact Mike Melia- 07837 251346
  3. Fixtures arranged for every team on the 3rd April are to be used as a warm up so teams don’t go into the cups on 10th April without having played. All normal procedures such as confirmation, referee payment by BACs, completion of result texts, match sheets, team stats and refs marks are to be followed.
  4. The Cup fixtures, Match day one on the 10th April through to the end if the group stage on 8th May are now visible on Full Time.
  5. The Cup squads from multi-team clubs can be sent in as soon as you are ready, and are required at the latest by next Sunday 4th April. Please send to me,  Keith Marsden registrations@landc.org.uk, John Howard john.howard15@btopenworld.com and Gill Bowden gillbowden@ymail.com please.
  6. Rob O’Connor of Bedians has kindly offered a set of football nets in good condition if any club needs them. If anyone wants them all they have to do is collect them, contact Rob O’Connor 07738 195124.

General Meeting, Cup and friendly fixtures, and info ahead of restart

This week’s update includes confirmation that fixtures have been arranged. For this and more information, please see below.

  1. Fixtures for every team on the 3rd April are released, some clubs did not want a match that day, so those have been moved. If you still want a game after your opponent declined, contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk. They are to be used as a warm up so teams don’t go into the cups on 10th April without having played. Referees will be appointed as normal by the referee’s secretary. All normal procedures such as confirmation, referee payment by BACs, completion of result texts, match sheets, team stats and refs marks are to be followed.
  2. The cup draw was made at the committee meeting, issued on the 17th March and Match day one on the 10th April has been released.
  3. The cup rules and competition format were issued on the 6th March. Note the deadline for registration has been brought forward to the end of February (rule 4) and squad eligibility is in rule 5. Squads are required from multi-team clubs and can be sent in as soon as you are ready. Any queries on registrations to Keith Marsden registrations@landc.org.uk please.
  4. The preparation for the return continues – Important date for your diaries – 29th March 7PM there will be a General Meeting via Zoom, which clubs must attend to hear all the arrangements.

Warm-up fixtures announced in preparation for forthcoming cup competitions

Now that we have confirmed our plans for a streamlined cup competition programme that will run in the absence of the possibility to complete a full league programme, the L & C has announced warm-up fixtures in preparation for the competitive fixtures. More information on this, as well as other updates, can be found below.

  1. League fixtures for every team on the 3rd April have been released. They are league games to be used as a warm up so teams don’t go into the cups on 10th April without having played. We have saved everyone a job arranging friendlies. Referees will be appointed as normal by the referee’s secretary. All normal procedures such as confirmation, referee payment by BACs, completion of result texts, match sheets, team stats and refs marks are to be followed. The games are voluntary, so if for any reason you do not want a match that day, contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. The deadline for ensuring all match sheets, team stats, refs marks and payments are in is Thursday 11th March. After that the cup draw will be made with those who have complied included.
  3. The preparation for the resumption of football continues, the cup rules and competition format were issued yesterday. Note the deadline for registration has been brought forward to the end of February (rule 4) and squad eligibility is in rule 5. Any queries on registrations to Keith Marsden registrations@landc.org.uk please.

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.

L&C update for all club secretaries

This is a particularly trying time for all in grassroots football. The national lockdown has put a halt to the game and with the uncertainty surrounding when it will be safe to resume, the L&C has sent out voting forms to all clubs to give their preferences in the event that the season cannot be completed in its entirety.

We have every intention of finishing the league season and are making plans so that we are ready to go if and when grassroots football is given the go-ahead. However, in the event this is not possible, the league has sent a ballot paper for clubs to give their views, should the season not be completed.

This is one of the points to bear in mind in our latest update:-

  1. The voting is underway for the possibility of season 20-21 curtailment. Please consider the options carefully and consult your clubs for their views.
  2. The committee are raring to go once we get the go ahead that it is safe to do so. We want to be ready to restart without any issues – all administration matters (in both meaning of the word!) from before Christmas must be completed before you restart.
  3. Match sheets, refs marks and match stats must be up to date. John Howard, Harry Jack and Gill Bowden are continuing their checks, so please assist them by doing the necessary NOW, not waiting till a date for a restart is known.
  4. The treasurer Phil Faulkner has sent invoices for all outstanding amounts. Many clubs have paid, but a significant number have not replied at all. We fully understand that there is no income, but you need to speak to Phil to make arrangements for when you can pay.
  5. We hope all are safe, secure and well.

Club Tributes to Dave King

Received in response to the sad announcement earlier this week

I’m genuinely saddened to hear of Dave King’s passing. Horrible news; I always found him to be such a lovely fella. Please pass on mine and Sandra’s condolences. He was a gentleman, a great servant to the league and very much appreciated by myself and Sandra. His work in organising the league dinners was fantastic and it was always good to see him at Chorltonians. I’ll miss having a pint and a chat with him. Tony McNicholls, Chorltonians FC

Just seen the sad news regarding Dave. Your tributes to him in the email were obviously very heartfelt. I have fond memories of Dave from your visits to Parrswood games, I recall he liked the odd cigar. Steve Taylor, Parrswood Celtic FC.

So sorry to read the obituary for Dave King – I can only endorse all the acknowledgements and compliments for him. Dave was always so warm and friendly whenever I spoke with him at meetings, matches and presentations of course which he organised superbly. Our members will be sad to hear of his passing so on behalf of all who knew him at Rochdalians our condolences to his family and friends. Mark Wilson, Rochdalians A F C.

Nice tribute, Dave Jameson Spurley Hey FC

Just read about Dave King. Sad news. A really nice fella who worked hard for the league and football in general. A random memory I have is from the league dinners some years back (at Edgeley Park). I remember him wondering around chatting with people followed by big puffs of cigar smoke which he kept wafting away when they built up too much. A strange memory – but one that makes me smile nonetheless. Sorry for your loss gents & take care. Jack Norbury Govan Athletic Football Club.

My sadness about the news of Dave King, who always had time for a chat, I thought he was one of the really nice guys. Please pass on the thoughts of our club to Dave’s family. Peter Bird AFC Oldham.

That’s terrible news, I always remember Dave with great affection. I never thought the last time I would see him would be meeting him in Urmston to hand a trophy back, lovely man. Phil Bower Irlam Steel.

Joint Statement from North West County FAs on Local North West Grassroots Football Restrictions

Updated Statement (Issued 31st Dec 2020 at 12 noon)  

 Yesterday the government reviewed the tiering restrictions in place across the country which resulted in changes to all the North West County FA’s.
The following information applies to Grassroots Football at NLS Feeder Leagues (Step 7) and below and applies to all member clubs and leagues affiliated or sanctioned by County FA’s in Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Westmorland, Cumberland and Liverpool. We continue to recognise the challenges that the Covid pandemic presents and fully appreciate and thank all our volunteers involved in the grassroots game across the North West for all your hard work throughout 2020.  

The following defines which local authorities are aligned to which regions and which Tier they are now in: 
Adult Football From the updated guidance provided adult clubs, teams and individuals (Players, Coaches and Spectators) cannot continue to play or train in Tier 4 and the game is therefore suspended. Those in Liverpool City Region (Merseyside) may continue, but those involved are not to move in or out of their Tier 3 region to participate.   For absolute clarity the above means that travel is NOT permitted from Liverpool City Region (Merseyside) to any of the other North West Regions.

Youth Football (Under 18’s), Including Disability Football With regards to youth football (Under 18’s) and all disability football. There have been changes for all those regions now in Tier 4 and these are detailed below, specifically in relation to movement/travel of youth teams, players, coaches and or volunteers (including parents). The government’s Tier 4 guidance states organised outdoor sport for under-18s and disabled people will be allowed, while there are exemptions for FA Girls’ Regional Talent Clubs. The government’s guidelines on travel between tiers should be adhered to.
These players now cannot move in or out of their Tier 4 region to train or play.

For absolute clarity the above means that travel is NOT permitted between all regions in the North West. Under 18’s must play only within the region that they reside. For example; Those players and volunteers who live in Greater Manchester, must play only in Greater Manchester and cannot travel to another region such as Cheshire or Liverpool and vice versa. This also means that regions such as Derbyshire, Staffordshire for example cannot travel into a North West region to play.   It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government’s latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA. Failure to adhere to the guidance will result in sanctions for non-compliance.

Match Officials Match Officials are exempt and are free to travel within the tiers.   It is imperative that everyone involved in the grassroots game continues to be vigilant and follows the governments restrictions and the guidance set in place by the Football Association. For the avoidance of any doubt, any teams where it is found that Players, Coaches, Volunteers or Spectators are not adhering to the government restrictions and FA guidance will face sanctions for non-compliance, including removal of fixtures.   Under 18’s, including disability football and other sporting activities are permitted despite wider restrictions because of the benefits of sport and physical activity for people’s physical and mental wellbeing. If people act irresponsibly when participating in grassroots football (including off the pitch, and when socialising before and after activity) they jeopardize public health and undermine the case for safe sport to take place.

If there are serious or consistent concerns with non-compliance of COVID guidelines at grassroots football which fail to be addressed, then the government may revoke the ability for grassroots football to take place. We cannot stress enough the critical importance of all involved in the game complying with the guidance to allow the grassroots game to continue.   Our key guidance in the North West is as follows: Social distancing wherever possible for players, and always in the case of spectators Robust hygiene standards as per risk assessments but including the wearing of masks in toilet blocks etc. Effective registering of attendees primarily via the NHS Test and Trace QR code system Strongly recommend at all youth games a maximum of one accompanying adult per child, wherever possible   National League System & Women’s Football Pyramid

Football for adult participants across ‘non-elite’ football in Tier 4 regions is not permitted, including all training and fixtures. This immediate advice in place from 31 December applies to the following aspects of ‘non-elite’ football in England in Tier 4 areas: Steps three to six of the National League System (NLS) Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid Regional NLS feeder leagues Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite guidance) Vitality Women’s FA Cup (which is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition)

This joint statement is based on the current position and we will continue to review in line with any government tier reviews.

We appreciate the complexities that the continuous changes have made and wish again to thank you all for the tremendous work that you continue to do and have undertaken throughout the most unprecedented year of 2020. We wish to take the opportunity to wish everyone the very best for what we hope will be a much more prosperous 2021.

Please take care and stay safe.    

Lancashire FA
The County Ground
Thurston Road

This email was sent to gm-ellis@outlook.com    
© 2020 Lancashire FA