Sadly on Wednesday evening the South West Peninsula Football League board held a scheduled “Zoom” meeting and were able to consider the guidance sent by The Football Association late that afternoon in its deliberations, which resulted in a motion being passed that they do not run any end of season Cups.
The board had previously agreed to look into running two end of season Cups, one knock out and one group based, and were due to discuss the formulation of them, having now consulted with clubs (32 of the 40 had indicated that they would wish to participate, though some had specific queries which would have been looked at).
However, with the news that the return of fans is not on the horizon, and the FA guidance suggesting 17th May at the earliest, (and an end date of May 31st for any Step 3/6 club in any Cup). Further the clarification of hospitality from 12th April being ONLY table service in Covid restricted bubbles means secondary spend from licensed premises would be restricted and not practical whilst games are in progress.
Direct quote of FA Guidance received 10th March:
Spectators – unfortunately, the current understanding at DCMS is that spectators for non-elite football will be under the same categorisation as outlined for all spectators in the roadmap. Therefore, unless informed otherwise we believe all fixtures will need to be behind closed doors until no earlier than May 17th, except for any person(s) spectating for safeguarding purposes.
Hospitality – the roadmap indicates that outdoor hospitality will be allowable no earlier than April 12th however, the guidance is clear that any outdoor hospitality customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) only.
The board were unanimous that without the return of fans, at least in the previous Covid secure way used earlier in the season, that clubs would not be able to afford to play these matches as no admission and no secondary spend would be possible. We are also concerned that clubs run by volunteers, cannot reasonably be expected to police the “no fans” rules.
Therefore, in light of the guidance and with a heavy heart, a Proposal and Seconder put forward a motion that we do not run any end of season Cups, the motion passed by 12 Votes to Nil.