Ashford & District Sunday Football League
News Report

2019/20 Season Cancelled due to Grassroots Football Suspension

Author: Ryan Mills, 18/03/20

COVID-19 pandemic causes season to close

Due to the Football Association’s announcement on Monday to support with avoiding social contact and gatherings and to suspend grassroots football for the foreseeable future, the Ashford & District Sunday Football League has made the tough decision to end the current 2019/20 season with immediate effect. Having taken advice from the Kent FA on Tuesday morning as well as other governing bodies, the league management committee have announced that the season will be prematurely ended with no further fixtures to be played until at least September.

Although some clubs will obviously be disappointed with this decision, we must consider the health and wellbeing of all our players, volunteers, referees and supporters at this worrying and uncertain time as the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the Kent FA’s announcement that all Kent Sunday Cup finals are postponed, none of the six Ashford & District Sunday League cup finals will take place this Spring either including the Bodkin Cup, Sheber Trophy and four divisional league cup competitions. In addition, the chairman of the Ashford Sunday Charity Trophy (John Ralph) also confirmed on Wednesday morning that this season’s competition has also been cancelled and will start again next season.

League secretary Fiona Spicer confirmed the closing of the current season in an email to all club secretaries on Tuesday afternoon.

Mrs Spicer said: “In light of the advice from the FA we as a league council have taken the further decision to close the season completely. With only six-weeks left of the season after this weekend and the suspension still set for the foreseeable future, it’s safer for all our clubs, teams, players, referees and spectators that this decision is made.

“We can only apologise to all the clubs in our League, some of whom had already got into a cup final, but hopefully everyone will understand this decision in these unprecedented times.

The League has also cancelled this season’s presentation dinner and will review the timing of the AGM in the coming weeks, hoping to begin afresh next season in September.



Q) Why can’t we wait a couple of weeks and see if this all clears?
A) All grassroots football has been suspended for the foreseeable future, and with the COVID-19 virus still weeks away from its peak in the UK (based on relation to other countries) it’s doubtful the governments advice on social gatherings will change before the planned end of the playing season. With still 8-10 games to play plus cup matches and the League still feeling the affect of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, it’s now impossible to complete the fixtures before the 17th May.


Q) Will there be promotion and relegation still for next season?
A) With 2 or 3 teams expected to withdraw from the league over the summer and several new clubs applying to join for next season there will be some adjustments required to the league constitution for the 2020/21 season. Although there will be no straight forward two up-two down promotion and relegation this season, some clubs may be moved into a different division based on performance to date this season to ensure of a fair competition next year. Points per game (PPG) may be used to determine this and all clubs affected will be consulted before the AGM and the 2020/21 season league constitution voted upon.

Q) Will the cup finals be played another time?
A) No, these seasons cup competitions have been cancelled and will hopefully restart in September for the 2020/21 season. If the pandemic clears and things return to normal over the Summer, the fixtures secretary will look into organising a summer tournament and/or pre-season competition (perhaps division leaders versus cup finalists, top four in each division on PPG knock-out etc…)

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