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Grassroots football given the green light to return in September

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Luke Churchill in action for Lymington Town in the Sydenhams Wessex League last year.
Luke Churchill in action for Lymington Town in the Sydenhams Wessex League last year.

THE FA has given the green light for recreational football to return at the start of September which includes the Sydenhams Wessex League.

Until then end of July, football clubs will be limited to club training with a maximum of 30 people in attendance. In August, teams will be able to play pre-season friendlies with other clubs, while grassroots competitive leagues will start in September.

The Sydenhams Wessex League has stated that pre-season friendlies must be played behind closed doors until further FA proposals are approved, and all teams must complete and publish a risk assessment before any games are played.

The step-five league also added that they will not play county cup competitions in the usual traditional format but will review their stance in the new year to potentially ‘operate competitions on a smaller scale towards the end of the season’.

Brockenhurst FC manager Pat McManus told the A&T that the club are ready for the new season: “We welcomed the announcement. The September date was one we had always been preparing for from a training point of view, so it causes us no dilemmas and we’re confident as we can be regarding our Covid-19 mitigations.

McManus added: “Hopefully we’ll get further clarification regarding spectators for pre-season friendlies and competitions before we get underway. We have home and away friendlies confirmed commencing from 1st August.”

Christchurch FC boss Ollie Cherrett also told the A&T that they are eager to get back out onto the pitch: “It’s been a difficult time for everyone and now thankfully we can look forward to getting back to what we love and enjoy.

“We will start pre-season with more intensity now we have a start date. The lads are looking forward to getting back to playing games and have kept themselves in shape. We are finalising details of games and will be ready for the season.”

Ringwood Town manager Rich Morse said: “We are delighted to get some clarification on the start of the season from the recent announcement.

“We, as a club, understand the whole situation and will do everything we can to support the guidelines that are in place to make it happen.”

Morse added: “We have been training since the beginning of July and now we know the start date we can step up the training so the boys are ready. We have signed some really additions for next season which I’m pleased about and secured the majority of last year squad so we’ll be ready to go.”

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