DUE to the growing concerns over the spreading of coronavirus COVID-19, the Southern League has announced all games between Saturday, 14th March and Saturday 21st March will be postponed.
Stratford Town’s Southern Premier Central matches that have been called off as a result of this afternoon’s, Friday, announcement are tomorrow’s trip to Barwell, Tuesday’s home clash against Royston Town and next Saturday’s game against Peterborough Sports at the Arden Garages Stadium.
A league statement reads: “Further to discussions this afternoon, a decision has been taken that all BetVictor Southern League matches will be postponed between Saturday, 14th and Saturday, 21st March inclusive.
“Therefore, there will be no matches taking place tomorrow, Saturday), next midweek or Saturday 21st March.
“A review of the situation will take place next Friday, 20th March and everyone will be notified of the decision as soon as possible regarding the continuation or otherwise of the competition from Monday, 23rd March.”
League chiefs added that the end of season date currently remains as Saturday, 25th April until further notice.
The Hellenic League, which features our local sides Southam United, Moreton Rangers and Moreton Rangers Reserves, has also confirmed that following a consultation with the FA it has suspended all matches up to and on Saturday, 28th March with immediate effect.
A league statement added: “The situation will then be reviewed when the impact of the coronavirus virus is better understood.
“The league will update clubs as and when further information is made available by the FA and other authorities.”
The Herald approached the Stratford Alliance for an update and league chairman Barry Cooke said: “We had an update from the Birmingham County FA that it was down to each league at our level to make their own decision.
“Our decision at the moment is to carry on as normal this weekend, but we will monitor the situation day by day and see what advice we are given.”
As for Studley, FC Stratford, Alcester Town, Earlswood Town, Central Ajax and Shipston Excelsior, their games will go ahead as scheduled, with Midland League chiefs not putting a suspension on fixtures.
Racing Club Warwick’s game against Worcester City has been called off, thougj, because some City players have been showing flu-like symptoms.
“Further to the communication of yesterday regarding the coronavirus crisis, and following the Premier League and EFL deciding to pause the season until April 9th the MFL have taken advice from the FA who informed us today that it is each league’s decision as to what
approach it wishes to take, so each league at Steps Five and Six will do what it believes best for its member clubs,” a statement read.
“Accordingly, and in common with the National League and Northern Premier League, the MFL’s board has decided that all matches will go ahead this weekend, with future fixtures being reviewed on Monday, 16th March.
“Our primary concern, as always, is to protect the financial stability of our clubs. This means playing as many games as we can, so long as clubs wish to do so.
“This is not contrary to the League’s and clubs’ duty of care considerations to players, officials or supporters but, in a season where clubs have been severely impacted by weather-related postponements, the MFL board believes that pausing the season right now would prove disastrous for many clubs.
“The situation is changing daily, so our approach to COVID-19 must be flexible, recognising the very genuine concerns around the health of players, officials and supporters.
“The league has consistently urged clubs to follow government advice, which is that football matches should go ahead as planned for now.
“Having carefully weighed up all options, and mindful that we are between a rock and a hard place on this issue, all MFL matches will therefore go ahead as planned this weekend unless a club is directly affected by players, referees or volunteers who are self-isolating or
have serious concerns.”
Worcestershire FA has also confirmed that the Evesham & District League, Bromsgrove & District League, Redditch & South Warwickshire Combination, Central Warwickshire Girls League and Ambassador Evesham League can carry on as normal.
However, they have suspended all fixtures in the Central Warwickshire Youth League.