COVID-19 chaos - Football leagues postponed in an attempt to delay the spread

PUBLISHED: 10:45 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:50 17 March 2020

A football on a pitch. Picture: Sam Cooper

A football on a pitch. Picture: Sam Cooper


Football leagues across the country postponed last weekend’s fixtures in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

The South West Peninsula League, where Axminster Town and Honiton Town play their football, was one of those leagues that saw no action last weekend.

The announcement to postpone came after the Premier League and English Football League announced all football in the top four flights of English football would be postponed until at least April 4.

In a statement, the SWP League said: “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.

“Our decision is to postpone with immediate effect all games in the East, West & Walter C Parson Cup for the next 10 days.

“A decision on restarting will be made in a week’s time on Friday, March 20, so that clubs fixtured from March 23 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, April 25,

“But only if the FA can sanction a season extension, so the fixturing should be regarded as provisional for the time being.”

“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 COVID-19. 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.”

If the season where to go ahead, an extension would be a neccesity considering the backlog of games teams are already facing caused by the storms and wet weather earlier in the year.

Other clubs in the East Devon area have been affected with the Toolstation Western League, where Exmouth Town play, and the Devon Football League, where Ottery St Mary and Budleigh Salterton play, were also postponed.

With the situation ever evolving, be sure to check for news on the future of local football.

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