The FA confirmed on the 15th of March this year that teams in tiers 3-6 of the women’s football pyramid would see their seasons null and voided for a second year running as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The 2020-21 Season for tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid will be curtailed with immediate effect and declared incomplete, with no further league fixtures taking place this season. There will also be no promotion and relegation between these tiers for the 2020-21 season, including no promotion from tier 3 into tier 2 and no relegation from tier 6 into tier 7.”The FA Women’s Football Board
For our Southern Region Women’s Football League sides, Ascot United Ladies, Newbury, Tilehurst Panthers and Woodley United, this left the teams with the prospect of another seven months of no competitive football. However, the SRWFL announced they would be hosting a Subsidiary Cup from Sunday 11th April 2021.
Entry into the cup was on a voluntary basis and sees twelve of the leagues seventeen teams entered, with Berkshire’s Newbury being one of the five having decided not to take part in the competition.
Rules of the cup state it will run initially on a group stage basis, with the groups consisting of four regions comprised of three teams. Each team will play one another once in the group, with one home game and one away game and a total of two group games per team.
The top two teams from each group will proceed to an open draw quarter final knock stage. The bottom team in each group will be entered into an open draw Plate knock out competition.
A date and venue for the Subsidiary and Plate final are yet to be announced.
We spoke to League secretary Clare “We know how much people have missed football and it is not just the players but the coaches and managers, officials and so many other people behind the scenes. As a league committee we wanted to ensure we could provide some competitive football in the limited weeks left of the 2020/21 season for those teams who wanted to participate! It has been a challenge to get everything organised with a new set of competition rules, and fixture formats set-up in a champions league style group stage and knockout competition which will finish up in a Subsidiary Cup and Subsidiary Plate Final organised to ensure we maximised playing opportunities. Football is so important for people’s mental, physical and social health that we hope this competition will provide at least a little bit of relief and focus over the coming weeks as society begins to slowly and safely reopen. As a league we would also like to say a massive thank you to the volunteers who run the clubs as they have also had to put in a lot of time and effort to get everything ready for both training and competition. We wish all those taking part the best of luck!”
Sunday 11th April
- Abingdon United v Oxford City
- AFC Bournemouth CST v Eastleigh in the Community
- Ascot United v Abbey Rangers
Sunday 18th April
- Abbey Rangers v Woodley United
- AFC Bournemouth CST Development v Moneyfields
- Eastleigh in the Community v Southampton Women’s Reserves
- Tilehurst Panthers v Abingdon United
Sunday 25th April
- New Milton Town v Moneyfields
- Oxford City v Tilehurst Panthers
- Southampton Women’s Reserves v AFC Bournemouth CST
Good luck to all our Berkshire teams taking part!