CEO Update on 2 June
An Update from our CEO Ben Snowdon
Like most of you I find myself in an unprecedented time in my life. Whilst I have been following the government advice, this can and has been challenging for us all as we deal with the changes to our daily routines and the unfamiliar feeling of lacking the usual freedom and normality, we have in the way we live our lives.
For weeks I was watching the news and seeing the number of confirmed cases and unfortunately deaths seemingly continue to increase daily. At this point the priority for us all was clearly the health of loved ones, friends, colleagues and our communities. I myself have parents in self isolation, due to underlying health conditions, in the North East and never has the 114 miles between myself and them felt further away.
I personally know of people who have been impacted by this horrendous virus and therefore my thoughts, and those of all involved with Cumberland FA, go out to those people, and those who may be in this position in the future, at this difficult time.
Therefore, at this stage it felt wrong to think or even talk about football which, as Jurgen Klopp so elegantly described, appeared to be “the most important of the least important things”.
Whilst initially I think there was the usual and understandable internal focus in how to deal with this pandemic. In the main, this appeared to have changed over the weeks as we adapted our relationships and lifestyles to become more appreciate of life’s simple pleasures and our wonderful public services including the NHS.
They often say that football is a microcosm of society and this has certainly been true of the last few weeks, as initially feelings ran high over the decision to conclude the 2019/20 season.
This even manifest itself in my own family as my own son voiced his anger towards me that his playing season had been concluded prematurely (happily we are now back on speaking terms!!).
We therefore understood the decision by The FA and the subsequent collective decision of CFA based leagues to conclude the season in the way it has been, would be hugely upsetting for a lot of people, particularly those who were in the position to receive such plaudits and rightly saw this recognition as the consequence of their hard work and investment throughout the season.
However, with time and as the reality of the situation became clear, there was a greater acceptance that the decision had been required in order to allow people to prioritise the health and welfare of the football community and their loved ones.
Like society our grassroots football community have taken the adversity it finds itself in, recalibrated and have underlined its importance within the local community. We have many examples, from within the game, of individuals who, rightly, have been thrust into public conscience as ‘key workers’. We have also seen numerous examples of clubs and individuals doing their bit to raise vital funds for frontline services, using innovation and modern technology to keep communities and friendship groups communicating and various social media and club specific endeavours to just generally put a smile on people’s faces and provide some sense of familiarity in an otherwise unfamiliar period of our lives.
I have certainly learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope and nowhere have these characteristics been demonstrated more than within our grassroots game.
Following yesterday’s announcement of the latest guidance being issued from The FA, it feels the right time for the main focus, for us as a CFA and for the grassroots game itself to start to look forward rather than backwards. To look at a recovery package for clubs that need it and to start planning for next season, whenever this maybe. So that when, and we will come through this, all the current restrictions are lifted, we are in the best position to be able to get football back up and running as quickly as possible. As this will not allow bring optimism and hope, but also that sense of normality that we are all craving.
We are therefore launching the first part of our 3 -phase strategy as we are ‘Planning to Play’.
As a CFA staff team, we have a quote on our wall in the office that our team mission is to ‘work together to make a difference to the game we love’.
And whilst we are still uncertain as to exactly when or how football will return, we do know that the best chance we have of this being sooner rather than later will be if we all work together in following the guidance provided by the Government, Sport England and The FA.
If we can do this, we will make the biggest difference ever to this game we love.
Cumberland FA CEO