With grassroots football so heavily affected by Covid-19 over recent months, and whilst there is still uncertainty around the impact of the virus moving forward, Northamptonshire County FA has taken the difficult decision to cancel all County Cup competitions in the forthcoming season (2020/21), in an effort to reduce pressure on grassroots leagues and clubs across the county.
Tony Major, Northamptonshire FA Chairman, said: “This was an extremely difficult decision to take but following a review of how Covid-19 affected grassroots football in our county this year, and in an effort to allow more time for league fixtures to be fulfilled throughout the new season, we felt it was the right decision to not run our County Cup competitions in the 2020/21 campaign.
“Losing some of the most special dates in our grassroots football calendar will come as a disappointment to a lot of people, not least ourselves, but there were many factors we had to consider before reaching this decision; some of which are completely out of our control.
“Whilst we all hope for a smooth return to football without further disruptions, it’s important to note that our member clubs will already be affected by starting the new season later than normal, and in the current climate we cannot rule out the possibility of Covid-19 disrupting grassroots football activity again. There may be positive signs nationally with an overall reduction in infection and death rates, but the possibility of a local lockdown in Northamptonshire remains as we move forward, and that’s something we must be mindful of when it comes to league fixtures. Also, it may feel a long time ago now but fixtures were already being affected by inclement weather conditions before lockdown, which is another factor we must take into consideration and prepare for, especially as we approach the winter months.
“Under these new circumstances and regulations, it’s vitally important that our leagues are supported in every way possible as they focus on a return to regular fixtures. There may be uncertainty ahead, but we’re hopeful of a bright future for the game locally and we’re confident this difficult decision regarding our County Cup competitions is the right one to take.
“Finally, the patience and understanding that our members continue to show during this unique period of time is thoroughly appreciated by the board and staff at Northamptonshire FA. On behalf of the whole County FA, I’d like to wish you all the best for the new campaign and we look forward to reintroducing our County Cup competitions again in the 2021/22 season.”