Joint statement from The Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth League, Carlisle City Sunday League, Cumberland County League, Egremont & District Sunday League, Penrith & District Junior Football League, West Cumbria Youth Football League, Workington & District Sunday League and Cumberland FA U16 Girls league.
Following The FA’s announcement last week, with regards to the conclusion of the 2019/20 season for all grassroots football, an online meeting between The Cumberland FA and all the respective leagues within the County was held on Friday to discuss options available.
Over the weekend the respective Management Committees reviewed the information and discussed the options internally with their Management Committee. Today the group met again to receive updated information to numerous questions that had been posed by the leagues to The FA, via The CFA, and to feedback with regards to their leagues preferred position with regards to concluding the season.
It was clear from discussions that all leagues wished to agree a collective stance as this was believed to be in the best interests of the grassroots game across the County.
Even before the outbreak of Covid-19 virus the fixture programme within the County had, had to deal with not only the ‘traditional’ Cumbrian Weather but also 3 storms over 3 separate weekends. This had left leagues already behind schedule and under varying degrees of pressure in completing their programmes.
This meant that whilst initially leagues had hoped to complete their fixture programmes and cup competitions, the latest advice around the likely timescales that the current government sanctions will remain in place, had left leagues worrying that logistically it would be difficult to complete the full league programme. This decision was taken out of the leagues hands, when the National FA announced the conclusion of the season last week, meaning that no additional leagues games from season 19/20 could be played.
Leagues were therefore left with two main options to consider. This was trying to find a way of calculating results based on those submitted to date or to follow the National League System (Steps 3 to 7) in declaring their competitions null and void.
Given the disparities in the number of games played by different teams, within respective leagues, at the conclusion of the fixtures programmes and the potential challenges if a system was derived to calculate a winner. It was felt that there was not a suitable method to do this consistently, fairly and to maintain the integrity of the competition that we all set out to participate within at the start of each season.
The League Committees, in line with their delegated powers of authority from The FA Standard Code of Rules and Standard Code of Rules for Youth, have reluctantly agreed that the course of action that they must take is to declare their respective league and cup competitions for season 19/20 as null and void.
This would mean that, grudgingly, the respective league and cup competitions will be brought to an immediate end with the results expunged. As a result of this action there will be no winners and thus no medals/trophies can be awarded.
All Leagues, as volunteers themselves, understand the emotion, time and effort that has gone into what has been a really challenging season for all those involved.
However, our belief is that this pales into insignificance when you consider the economic uncertainty affecting so many local businesses and individuals and the unique challenges of self-isolation. Meaning football is clearly secondary to that of the health of the Nation currently.
The primary focus at present is on our and your own families, staying safe, staying at home, protecting the NHS and most significantly saving lives.
Then as we progress over the coming months we hope that the football family in Cumberland will come together to support our communities and provide them with something to look forward to, as hopefully we can start planning for and looking forward to season 20/21, when, with all being well, we will have seen the back of this horrible virus and are all able to watch and participate within the grassroots game with our friends and families once again.
On behalf of all the league committees we would like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes, not only involved in the grassroots game but to all who may have experienced this virus.
We would also like to pass on our sympathies to those who may have lost loved ones already.
Our thoughts are also with those who sadly may suffer similarly in this period.
Please stay safe and continue to follow the government guidance and precautions put in place to control the spread of the Virus.
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Signed: On behalf of the League Management Committees of The Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth League, Carlisle City Sunday League, Cumberland County League, Egremont & District Sunday League, Penrith & District Junior Football League, West Cumbria Youth Football League, Workington & District Sunday League and Cumberland FA Under 16 Girls league.
30 March 2020