Following a period of detailed feasibility analysis and consultation with stakeholders including leagues local authorities and partners, Surrey FA and our Board have made the difficult decision to curtail all County Cup competitions for the 2020/21 season.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary concern has been for the safety and welfare of our participants, their family, and friends, staff, and volunteers. With the virus still present across the County, the Board does not feel it is right, to endorse clubs travelling across the region for fixtures when this could have a detrimental effect on efforts to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
The Board has also reviewed and considered numerous other factors when assessing the feasibility of completing each competition and the competition overall.
First, whilst the season has been extended to 30th June and the Government’s Roadmap allows for grassroots football to re-start not before 29th March, there is a significant backlog of fixtures across our 22 County Cup competitions. All Youth County Cups and Girls County Cups are either yet to begin or have only reached the preliminary round stage. This is also reflected across the majority of the adult male competitions too due to the national lockdowns in November and the past three months.
Secondly, there are many factors which are out of our control, which would have a significant impact on our ability to complete the competition/s. These include but are not limited to, any changes to the Government Roadmap, local Covid-19 conditions, adverse weather conditions, and in consultation with our 15 local authorities, the difficult balance of pitch availability with other sports/users and necessary pitch maintenance programmes.
Thirdly, we also need to consider the availability of teams, players, and support networks to complete fixtures in the timeframes available. As the governing body, it is incumbent on us to consider fairness and our competitions as a whole, and not favour one competition over another. We are further cognisant of the fact that many teams have been unable to play any competitive matches for several months.
Finally, following consultation with both the youth and adult leagues, the majority were in favour of prioritising completion of league fixtures, or an alternative format of competitive fixtures, up to the end of the 2020/21 season. This is in line with the FA’s prioritisation of league fixtures.
Commenting on the decision, Sally Lockyer, CEO Surrey FA stated, “We understand that there will be frustration and disappointment for many by this decision. This past year has been a difficult one for everyone, and we have all been frustrated by the stop-and-start situation for grassroots football. The unfortunate consequence of the numerous factors means that we could not feasibly complete all our County Cup competitions.
I would like to thank our commercial partners; Specsavers, Champion Timber, and Hyped Marketing for their support and every participant for your understanding of this significantly difficult decision. We all look forward to manoeuvring our way out of this pandemic and welcoming clubs back into our prestigious County Cup competitions next season.”
A decision on the Capital Women’s Cup competitions has not yet been made, but we shall provide an update as discussions between Surrey FA, London FA, Middlesex FA and the Amateur FA progress.
We would like to thank clubs and leagues for their patience whilst awaiting this decision. Information on entry for the 2021/22 competitions will follow in due course.