East Sussex Football League scraps league and cup competitions

The East Sussex Football League season has been curtailed for the second successive year amid the coronavirus crisis.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 9:15 am
It's the second year in a row the ESFL has not been played to a finish

The league's committee agreed to terminate the 2020-21 campaign and declare it null and void during a meeting. The committee concluded that it would not be possible for all of the remaining fixtures to be completed during the short time that remains of the season.

Grassroots football will be allowed to resume from March 29 as Covid restrictions begin to ease, but the league is only able to stage matches until early May and some teams have up to 14 league games still to play.

Fixture secretary Kevin Bray said: "At a league committee meeting it was unanimously agreed that the 2020-21 League season be terminated immediately and declared null and void.

"We have teams with up to 14 games to play in a six-week period once lockdown ends and with availability of pitches being a critical factor, we reluctantly decided that it cannot be completed.

"Our League Cup and Robertsbridge Charity Cup competitions have been cancelled."

The season began on schedule on the first Saturday in September and despite a few Covid-related postponements, things were progressing well until the end of October. But the second and third national lockdowns have meant only 24 fixtures have been finished since then.

As a result, the campaign has suffered the same fate as last term, which was the first in living memory where all of the divisions were incomplete.

That was halted last March as the first lockdown put paid to a campaign that was already well behind schedule due to a host of postponements during a very wet winter.

The 2000-01 season was abandoned, largely because of the foot and mouth outbreak, although the Premier Division was concluded.

Although the league won't be continuing, there may well be some football for clubs and players to look forward to during the coming weeks.

The league is currently looking to devise some sort of end-of-season competition to run during April.

Bray added: "Following a recent survey of clubs, many expressed a desire for some sort of organised games during April and we are formulating this. The exact format depends on the number of entries received."