With the new restrictions imposed across England, once again Non-League and Grassroots football has been put on the back burner with the ‘elite’ category determining whether or not, different levels of football are worth continuing. With that in mind, the only leagues that can continue in England are the Premier League, English Football League (Championship, League One and Two), National League (including North and South Divisions), Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship. The ‘non-elite’ clubs still in the Emirates FA Cup have been granted access to being able to play their First Round Proper tie but beyond that, there is no clarity as to what will happen.
This is the second-time that non-league football has been stopped due to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic but everyone at the top, seems more keen to continue the season when it is safe to do so. A few weeks into the last lockdown was when the curtail was drawn on the 2019/20 season with several clubs affected with both promotion and titles denied to those who worked hard for them. This time around, we all hope it ain’t the same outcome and although a date to resume has already been set, with December 2 in the diary, it is highly likely that the lockdown could extend to Christmas or even the new year.
The pause of the non-league football season is more than just players, managers and coaches not being able to enjoy sport with their mates but it also affects the volunteers and supporters. Football is a way to bring people together and really does benefit everyone involved mentally. Just being able to get out of the house during a lockdown is beneficial and socialising with those at the football is a great way to prevent insanity. When this is taken away, it becomes a real struggle to see us coming out the other side.
The Government’s decision is also a strange one. The biggest rise in coronavirus cases had come from hospitality and schools, which the government have tried to keep open whilst there has been less cases at gyms as well as socialising in parks and public places. Although it is important to keep children learning and as many businesses open to keep the economy going, the lack of scientific evidence to back-up the decision is staggering. If you were in a class of 30, that would be fine but the same 30 couldn’t attend a football match nor mingle in a park despite sending several hours in an indoor classroom. The Government have also stated outdoor activity is safer than spending time indoors but still have opted to pause the football.
The health of everyone is very important but they haven’t considered the wellbeing of people who will no doubt struggle without the one social element of their lives. The hope is that this lockdown doesn’t last too long and before we know it, we will be back watching football with family and friends, helping each other through these tough times.
Get out to a game tonight and Wednesday, and show support to your local teams!
Photo: Andrzej Perkins (@tweetperkins)