League Decision, Conclusion of the 20/21 Season
Fri 12th Mar 2021 @ 16:18:49 (1,616 Views)

Posted By : Julie Higgins

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Hi all, following on from last nights meeting we wish to report that the SHWGL 20/21 season will be concluded with immediate effect for all divisions and age groups.  I have attached the presentation from the meeting which sets out our reasons for reaching this difficult decision and our proposal for the season going forward.  Promotion/relegation will still be possible for next season.  We will be reviewing the information we have so far when we draw up the 21/22 divisions and teams can also apply to move divisions.  More on this will be discussed at the AGM.

We know some of you will be disappointed with the decision to end the season but we feel it is in the best interests of all concerned.  We feel continuing the league in the present format would put unnecessary strains on players and clubs at a time when we are all emerging from a very difficult situation and trying to resume normal activities.  We are also mindful that we have a vast array of ages who compete in the league (both junior and senior age groups) and we felt this was the fairest solution for all given the different stages teams were at in their season due to previous Covid restrictions, tiers etc.  We also felt it was important to apply the same process across all age groups and divisions.

We would however like to see some form of football played this season and SHWGL are proposing to run a cup/shield competition commencing on the 10th of April for all age groups. 

All details are contained in the presentation but a brief outline is below.  The cup/shield competition will be optional to enter and all games will be competitive, including the 9/10/11 age groups in line with the FA rules on competitive elements:

Teams from each age group are randomly drawn in groups of 4 (or 3 depending on numbers).  These groups will play each other once with the 1st and 2nd placed teams going on to the cup competition and the 3rd and 4th (if available) going through to the shield competition.  Rather than then going straight to a knock out, cup and shield teams will then randomly be drawn again into groups of 3/4 and play each other once.  Teams finishing 1st or 2nd in the cup and shield groups will then go on to the knock outs - quarter, semi and final.  Third and fourth placed teams will retire from the competition at this point but will have played up to 6 league organised games.

Both group stages will take place during April and May, knock outs will be in June.  If teams do not wish to enter the competition they don't have to, they are free to play friendlies (as they are if they didn't have a scheduled cup/shield fixture).  Player registration, insurance and affiliation has been extended until the end of June so teams will be covered for both the cup/shield and friendlies.  The competition is sanctioned under our normal SHWGL cup and shield rules.  Please note, players remain signed to clubs until the 30th of June rather than the 31st of May.

Referees will be provided by the league for all cup/shield games and once those games have been allocated if we do find we have spare referees each week these could be distributed to teams to use for friendlies.

We have not scheduled any games for Easter or early and late May Bank Holidays.  We are starting the week after Easter to give teams a chance to train before going straight into games and the group stages give a natural break after three weeks which coincides with both May Bank Holidays and will give me time to set up the next stage of the competition!  If teams do wish to play on those dates they can arrange friendlies.  As you will see we are very tight for time and have very little room for changes so as with normal SHWGL cup/shield rules, if teams cannot play on the dates specified for any reason other than fitness of ground of BOTH teams they would have to forfeit the game.  Games must be reversed if the away pitch is available/playable.  If both venues are unfit the game must be played midweek.  If play off games are needed after the group stages these will need to be scheduled mid-week due to time constraints.

Please can you all take some time to read through the presentation and attached cup/shield rules.  Please also speak to your players/parents to ensure they are happy to commit to the dates we have set out (details on the presentation). 

MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR TEAM MANAGERS, PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR CLUB SECRETARY/COMMITTEE TO ENSURE YOU HAVE THEIR AGREEMENT TO ENTER THE COMPETITION AND THAT VENUES ARE AVAILABLE (there may still be scope to enter the competition if venues are not available ie, by playing away fixtures or sourcing an alternative venue - please advise us of this). 

Once you have feedback from your club and team members then please can you complete the entry form attached.  The form gives the option to enter the competition or not, can you complete either way please.  Please ensure your entry form is completed and returned by next Friday - 19th of March.  If you think this may not be possible, please get in touch with me and let me know when you will be able to return the form.  IF I HAVEN'T HEARD FROM TEAMS BY NEXT FRIDAY I WILL ASSUME THEY DO NOT WISH TO ENTER. 

PLEASE MEET/SPEAK WITH YOUR CLUB BEFORE COMPLETING THE ENTRY FORM.  If clubs wish to complete the form on behalf of all their teams there is the option to do that.

There is an example format for the competition on the presentation along with key dates, once we have the forms returned indicating how many teams wish to enter, I will publish the full format for each age group.  These could be slightly different depending on numbers.  We will also send out draw details for each round of the competition.  As you will imagine setting up the competition will take some time so please bear with me on that.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to seeing some football resume shortly, as usual the above will be subject to information and guidance received from the FA/DCMS.  We are assuming training will be allowed to return from the 29th of March but other specifics involved with the return will be contained in the guidance ie, spectators allowed and use of changing rooms, club houses etc. We are hopeful this will be received in the next week or so and I will relay the information when I have it but we felt it was important to set out our league plan so we can get up and running as soon as possible. 

Many thanks 

Julie Higgins Secretary, SHWGL

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