Coronavirus leads to wholesale cancellations in local football schedule

PUBLISHED: 17:16 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:17 13 March 2020

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

No action for SWP League teams Honiton Town, Axminster Town and Sidmouth Town for at least the next two weeks.

There will be no South West Peninsula League Premier East football for Honiton Town, Axminster Town or Sidmouth Town for at least the next 10 days after the league announced via a statement that, because of the concerns over the coronavirus issue with all league matches will be suspended for at least the next 10 days with no action until March 23rd at the earliest.

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SOUTH WEST PENINUSLA LEAGUE (issued on Friday afternoon, March 13)

COVID 19 - LEAGUE STATEMENT

Following extensive consultations all day and having sought advice where possible the league has been left to make its own decisions on whether to postpone games or insist that they be played. This has been incredibly hard to do as clearly some wish to continue playing, others clearly do not, and we have pressures to complete the season from many quarters. We are of course aware too that some leagues have postponed for the foreseeable future in Scotland & Wales, some to April 3rd/4th, the Southern League to March 22nd, and some have not postponed at all.

Our decision is to postpone with immediate affect all games in the East, West & Walter C Parson Cup for the next 10 days, NO games will be played tomorrow (Sat 14th March), next midweek and next Saturday (21st March). Clubs are advised that fixtures MAY re-start on Monday 23rd March but that this will depend on advice at that time from both Govt and the FA. A decision on re-starting will be made in a weeks' time on Friday 20th March so that clubs fixtured from the 23rd March are aware. It is hoped that this window will allow more detailed advice to be sought, and also whether the FA will be granting any extension to the playing season. It should be noted that games postponed in the next 10 days will generally be re-fixtured for dates after the current end date of Saturday 25th April, but only the FA can sanction a seasons extension, so the fixturing should be regarded as provisional for the time being.

Lastly, the board wishes it to be known that in coming to this decision they have taken into account not just the national picture, but the local one too. We are aware of several volunteers self-isolating, a manager of a club and a referee all with suspected cases of covid19, in any event those clubs would have been granted a postponement under FA advice, it is also felt that the possible piecemeal way of some games being played and some called off would not be acceptable.

Likewise several clubs have very powerfully put over the message that they are concerned for the welfare of club officials and volunteers, many of whom are of an age or have underlying health concerns that mean football must become secondary.

The Bet Victor Southern League and the Toolstation Western League have both done similar but, as things stand, the Macron Devon & Exeter League are both continuing while the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League - both North & East which has, amongst its member clubs, East Devon-based Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth Town Reserves have said this weekend they are leaving to individual clubs to decide if they want to go ahead with matches with the league saying they are meeting on Monday (March 16) to decide what their next move is to be.

THis is what the Scott Richards League posted earlier today (Frodfay)

To all clubs in the @ScottRichardsSR DFL. Given the unprecedented uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, clubs have our full support if they decide to postpone fixtures this weekend. Please liaise with your opposition and we will provide further guidance after meeting on Monday


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