The Ashford & District Sunday Football League have released this statement on the imminent return of football this spring:
“Following the Government’s announcement on Monday, and further communication from the Football Association that organised outdoor sports and grassroots football can safely return from 29th March 2021, the Ashford & District Sunday Football League would like to confirm its road path to the safe return of Sunday morning football under the latest COVID-19 guidelines.
After looking at all the options available, the League Council met last night to discuss the matter and have decided that due to the number of fixtures outstanding, that with immediate effect the 2020/21 league season will be declared null and void. With some clubs having only played as few as three league games so far this season it would be unrealistic to arrange all outstanding fixtures in the time available, and would have meant a significant amount of evening-midweek fixtures would have be required to complete the schedule.
However, considering the appetite from a large population of players and clubs for a return of Sunday morning football, the Fixtures Secretary has proposed to restart both the Bodkin Cup (Premier Division and Division One) and the Sheber Trophy (Division Two and Division Three) with an initial ‘Champions League’ style group stage format. These two competitions are proposed to commence and be played between Sunday 11th April and Sunday 30th May 2021 and would allow teams to arrange training and friendly fixtures in the two-weeks prior to competitive football resuming.
By introducing these two cup competitions it gives us a sensible balance and allows us to get back to football safely and gives us time to prepare for what is hoped to be a full and complete 2021/22 season starting in August.
Therefore all teams are invited to enter and will be drawn into one of four groups playing either 4 or 5 group stage fixtures over the course of five weekends. Group winners then qualify for the semi-finals, with the final to be played at a semi-professional stadium behind closed doors at the end of May.
We understand that some clubs do not wish to commence football until next season, therefore the League Council have emailed all club secretaries to confirm whether they would like to participate in the proposed competitions this Spring. All clubs must adhere to all COVID restrictions that the Government has in place at the time of playing and it is the responsibility of each club to ensure this is achieved.”
More from the Ashford & District League can be found here