The Uhlsport Hellenic League have confirmed that it’s two clubs in the Tier 3 lockdown area of Slough will be reprieved from playing matches while the borough is in the governments highest risk bracket.
Chalvey Sports and Langley, both in Division One East, play out of the council-owned Arbour Park alongside Vanarama National League South Slough Town, but won’t be expected to play matches when the competition resumes on Saturday 12th December.
Sports chairman Scott Young had raised concerns to Football in Berkshire that his club being in tier 3 would mean matches being played behind closed doors, the financial impact of which would be unsustainable for the club.
As well as the problems of playing without supporters, Young revealed the Stabmonks have been unable to organise any friendlies because of being in a tier 3 area and can’t hire any training facilities because they either remain closed or are already fully booked.
It doesn’t mean there won’t be any football for either side, tier 3 sides will be allowed to play against each other so Langley vs Chalvey Sports has been scheduled for the 12th December and Chalvey Sports vs Langley on the 19th.
Young said: “We would’ve preferred away matches as then it wouldn’t have cost us £200 per match extra to hire Arbour Park due to no fans in, but there’s no guarantee yet either that Slough Borough Council will let us use the ground. At least the financial loss is one match for both Langley and ourselves.
“But there is a real fear of playing teams from a tier 3 area! We are seeing this fear as nobody wants a friendly against us. Teams outside of Slough must’ve expressed that they didn’t want to travel to a tier 3 area too I suppose. So they must’ve just thought they’d get two fixtures out of the way and hope Slough moves to tier 2 quickly and then revise again when the 16th comes.”
As well as the suspension of tier 3 clubs, the Hellenic have made a number of other changes to the season including the suspension of its cup competitions and kick-off times brought forward an hour to 2pm to save on floodlight costs.
Hellenic League chairman Bob Dalling said on the official competition website: “We recognise the Covid situation and the restrictions of Tier 2/3 have placed tremendous pressure on our clubs none the less on Officers, helpers, volunteers and back room assistants, many of whom are not getting any younger and some in the Shielded category. A myriad of directives almost every week from the Government, The FA, The County FA and the League has provided good information and at the same time a real headache to implement and the latest Tier 2/3 restrictions have placed even greater financial issues on our Teams and Clubs.
“You can be assured, the Hellenic League will continue to lobby The FA for assistance. We will also continually review the situation in line with Government and FA guidance and hope that restrictions on the ability to sell refreshments and open bars can be lifted soon to ease the financial burden on clubs. We will look forward to 16th December when the Tier situation will be reviewed and be ready to react to any positive outcome.”