Coronavirus Update: Grassroots football is back - who is ready?
, 3 min reading time
, 3 min reading time
It took too long, but finally grassroots football can resume.
The announcement from the Government and FA that ‘football activity’ can resume at all levels was clearly very welcome, and has offered a lifeline to many – players, officials and communities.
There’s no point going over old ground by bemoaning the length of time it has taken to get here, but it’s now more a case of looking to the future and ensuring everybody is ready to go when new seasons get up and running.
It goes without saying that much of the emphasis now falls at the hands of clubs, who must all adhere to new guidelines and protocol in order to return. But you would hope that they all had started to make such plans long before this overdue news.
Everywhere has a different feel and look to it these days, and football clubs will be no different at first. It will take time to get used to a new way of doing things, but we’d all accept this over being forced to watch football rather than play it.
Training sessions of up to 30 people can start with immediate effect and you will see those clubs who were best prepared and on the front foot through this pandemic as they will need little time – or excuse – to start straight away rather than only now beginning to hold meetings to discuss their procedures.
The same is true of small-sided competitions and tournaments that can resume in August. Which clubs are best prepared and can announce the first six-a-side event next month? Such days are often clubs’ one big fundraiser each year and vital to their balance sheets. Yes they will need more thought and planning than a training session, but clubs will be responsive and understanding to a ‘new world’.
There will be certain logistical problems – and many come at a financial cost – but if done right, this will be offset by the additional revenue such tournaments can bring in. Having seen very little or no money coming into the club over the past four months or so, this could be a lifeline to many.
Seasons will start in September and while again plenty of thought needs to go into the planning aspect, the average footballer will be satisfied with a change to the norm as long as they can be outside playing competitively again.
We’re gradually getting there – and those who got a step ahead in planning while others just sat back and waited to see what would happen next will be in a far better position to reap the rewards - and rightly so.