Football back but not as we knew it as the ‘new norm’ kicks in


- Credit: Archant

The return of football – indeed the continued running of all sports – even those that are slowly getting back to some form of, albeit, ‘new normal’ has bene thrown into question after the government announcement today (July 31) regarding the on-going pandemic situation.

Local cricket began competitively last weekend – tomorrow is matchday two of the Devon League 2020 campaign – and local football clubs can start playing pre-season friendlies from last Saturday (August 1).

However, with the government cancelling plans to allow limited crowds into some county cricket, a controlled number at the Glorious Goodwood Races and indeed, the World Snooker Championships which ‘did’ have supporters watching, but that will now cease with immediate effect, and, as per the government’s latest announcement, the whole thing will be looked at again on August 15.

Local football clubs can play pre-season games, but they must be played behind closed doors and teams must not use dressing rooms and showers etc. The guidance from the FA is that players should not car share and they should turn up at the venue changed and ready to play!

So what about local football – the Devon & Exeter League which is where the majority of our local ‘grass roots’ football clubs play in on a weekly basis, posted the following on their website on July 31.

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News regarding the new season: ‘Discussions still under way - Many clubs are flooding the League with requests to know when we can start the season. The league is doing its best to make this decision with the information they have been provided, but the answer is we simply do not have a start date, but the minute they can decide when it will be, an announcement will be made.

‘There are so many factors to consider, the league constitution, what clubs will be able to get going, and where many teams especially council ground-based clubs will be able to function. We also have to fit in with clubs at Step 7 and higher who have priority, so the executive really have a minefield of factors to decide on.

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‘The league has put out a questionnaire to all clubs on their status which will be a great help, but it remains a waiting game.’

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