Coronavirus: Non-league football games – current advice

Non-league games - still going ahead. Photo: SIMON PARKER

Non-league games - still going ahead. Photo: SIMON PARKER

Non-league football games are set to go ahead as normal this weekend in Suffolk and north Essex, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The Football Association has sent out to clubs - what are set to be daily updates - with the emphasis on there currently being no reason to cancel games.

However the situation is obviously very fluid.

'The latest advice from Government is that there is presently no rationale to close or cancel sporting events, but this may change as the situation evolves,' the FA directive said.

'There is a higher likelihood of severe illness the older you are (not an increased chance of contracting the virus), with those under 25 likely to be unaffected by the disease.

'However,there is no age-specific guidance at this moment in time.'

Local officials are trying to keep up to date with happenings as well as they can. But again they know things could change very quickly.

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Peter Hutchings, chairman of the Thurlow Nunn League said that while no games are off because of the virus the League Dinner, schedule for May, had been called off already.

'We have shared the FA guidance on the virus with our clubs,' he said.

'I suppose on average we get attendances of about 100 and in open spaces, but it's very fluid as everyone knows.

'Obviously people and their health is the most important thing.

'We have called off the dinner because we can't go booking an event in May which required a good-sized deposit, just to maybe have to call it off later.'

Nick Robinson, chairman of the Isthmian League said: 'We will be as flexible as we can with clubs.

'But it's changing hour by hour.

'What we will do as a league is be flexible and like everyone else will be guided by the Government.

'But we want to get games played, however what if a player at a club tests positive? As I said, we will be sympathetic in our approach.'

Meanwhile, John Campany, vice-chairmann of the Essex & Suffolk Border League said no games were being called off right now, but the League have decided that the 'pre match handshakes' will be suspended until further notice.

Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: 'Until further local or national guidance is received, we advise all football participants to please follow the latest Public Health or NHS England advice regarding Coronavirus

'Should any team not be comfortable with any part of the pre or post-match formalities due to coronavirus, a member of the management team or captain should explain this to the appointed match official upon arrival who will have special discretion to conduct the pre and post-match process without handshakes etc.

'This weekend's Suffolk FA County Cup fixtures are currently due to go ahead as scheduled.'

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