When the 2019-20 Cup competitions were interrupted in March, the preference from Cumberland FA was to conclude them when it was safe to do so.
With the return to football a lot sooner than expected (with leagues ready to start in September and October), we as a County FA have now made steps to conclude the Cup competitions, supported by Cumbrian Cottages where possible, and ultimately ensure that all clubs concerned know where they stand and can get on with preparations for the 20/21 season.
It was clear from the outset that given the timescales available for football to return, that the County were not going to be able to deliver all the remaining competitions and so it was decided that the County Cup Competitions should be prioritised.
Following a short period of consultation with Clubs involved in the latter stages of each County Cup competition, a working party met to review the feedback and make the difficult decisions with regards to the 2019-20 competitions.
Both The Cumberland Cup and Women’s Competitions from the 2019-20 season will not be concluded due to the clear logistical issues that would face the county in trying to fit in a competition involving National, Regional and County based clubs within its structure.
From the feedback received from all 4 teams remaining within the competition there was a real desire to finish the Sunday competition as all sides feedback showed a clear agreement around some areas and a willingness to be flexible in order to get the Final played.
Therefore, the competition working party’s decision is that the preference would be to conclude this competition as early as possible.
Youth Cup Competitions
As mentioned before Cumberland FA’s preference was to conclude the competitions. However before confirming this the working party wished to consider a number of logistics in making a final decision including timescale, capacity and most importantly the feedback from Clubs who are still involved in the competition to ascertain their desire and willingness to co-operate to get the competition played, as it was felt that to uphold the integrity of the competition there was a clear need for a majority decision for the competitions to be concluded.
From our consultation it was clear that the majority of Clubs in the bulk of the age groups had a real appetite to conclude the Youth County Cup competitions as they were seen as the pinnacle of football at each age group (described in the feedback as the equivalent of the Champions League for youth football). There was also communality and apparent flexibility to provide confidence that these competitions could be concluded.
On top of this youngsters have had a difficult time of things over lockdown and it is hoped that this would give those ready to play again something positive from this experience.
The working party concluded that, in line with the Cumberland FA’s preference, both Under 12s, the Girls Under 14 and both Under 16 competitions should be played subject to the conditions outlined below.
Due to logistical problems and time available, the Under 18 County Cup, Girls Under 12 and Under 14 County Plate and Trophy Finals from 2019-20 will not be played.
Feedback from clubs involved in the Under 14 Competition was conflicting regarding the availability, flexibility and willingness to play the remaining games. This led the working party to conclude that the ability to reach an agreement regarding the conclusion of the competition looked highly unlikely and so, like the other competitions with similar feedback, the Under 14 Boys Competition from the 2019-20 season could not be concluded.
Ben Snowdon, Cumberland FA CEO commented "We understand that this will be a hugely disappointing decision for some who wished to play, and is one that the CFA have reluctantly taken, given the hard work and investment that we know was put into reaching this stage of the competition.
However, it is also recognised that for others this has been a difficult period for matters much more important than football and therefore we understand, hence the questionnaire, that for some there were genuine reasons why they may have not wished to conclude the competition and ask that others respect their decision."
Cumberland FA have again contacted all Clubs involved in the latter stages to organise the remaining ties. More information will follow once the ties have been confirmed.
With a great deal of uncertainty still surrounding the coming season due to Covid-19, Cumberland FA are still planning to host competitions, however in order to give the leagues support to complete fixtures etc. there will be no competitions commencing until 2021.
This will allow Cumberland FA, in partnership with the local leagues a chance to decide what structure and format would be best to enable both leagues and county cups to conclude their respective campaigns.
The FA have confirmed that for one season (2020-21) the adult competitions will NOT be mandatory and therefore clubs will be able to decide whether they wish to enter The Cumberland, Women’s and Sunday Cup. (Youth Competition entry is optional)
Entry for season 2020-21 Cumberland County Cup competitions will be confirmed shortly.
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