All adult non-elite league football in Suffolk to be halted by new Covid-19 restrictions


Kick-off time at Greens Meadow as Stowmarket Town take on Norwich CBS in the FA Vase last weekend. Alas, all league action across the non-league board in Suffolk will have to stop from Boxing Day onwards. - Credit: Carl Marston

All adult non-league football in Suffolk will be halted from Boxing Day onwards and, with no clear end in sight, the successful completion of league campaigns must now be in serious doubt.

Suffolk has been put into Tier 4 following yesterday afternoon's latest Government announcement with regards the new restrictions to be put in place to combat the surge in Covid-19 cases.

That means the likes of the Thurlow Nunn League (Steps 5 and 6) plus the Suffolk & Ipswich League (Step 7) will not be able to stage any fixtures from the festive period onwards.


Clark Bruce and Chris Palmer end up in a tangle during the SIL match between Halesworth Town and Henley Athletic last Saturday. The SIL will not be able to continue under the new Tier 4 restrictions - Credit: Paul voller

Suffolk's leading non-league clubs, the sextet of Leiston, Needham Market, Lowestoft Town, Leiston, Bury Town, AFC Sudbury and Felixstowe & Walton United, had already stopped playing league football since their leagues were 'paused' from the beginning of November.

And from Boxing Day ALL non-elite and grassroots football across Suffolk will not be permitted, from Step 2 downwards.

That also includes tiers 3 to 7 of the women's football pyramid (all leagues in the pyramid below the Championship), although organised outdoor sport for under-18s can continue.

Likewise, all adults’ organised group training will also have to stop.

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Health secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that in addition to Suffolk, the following would also be joining Tier 4: Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, the rest of Essex, Waverley in Surrey, and Hampshire (with the exception of the New Forest).

The emergence of a new strain of coronavirus has effectively scuppered any hopes of Step 3 and Step 4 league football returning within the next few weeks, while also forcing leagues below this level to suspend their seasons.

The official Thurlow Nunn League issued the following statement yesterday: ‘Following today’s Government announcement on new Tier 4 areas, all Thurlow Nunn League football has been suspended until further notice.’

Like the previous season, there must now be a danger of many leagues cancelling their 2020-21 campaigns.