Suffolk Cup Finals scheduled for Ipswich Town likely to be hosted at other grounds when football restarts
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With the coronavirus pandemic hitting football across the country, Suffolk FA have today said that county cup finals set for Portman Road will ‘likely’ need to be hosted elsewhere.
In a statement, the county FA said: “Following yesterday’s announcement from The FA, which concluded all grassroots football for the 2019-20 season, Suffolk FA are continuing to work with leagues affiliated with Suffolk FA to determine how best to close the current season and commence planning for 2020-21. To be clear, the leagues affiliated with Suffolk FA are:
· Bury St Edmunds & District Primary School Football League
· Ipswich & Suffolk Youth Football League
· Ipswich Sunday Football League
· Lowestoft & District League
· Macron Suffolk & Ipswich League (although the Senior Division is Step 7 of the National League System)
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· Norfolk & Suffolk Veterans League
· Premier Logos Bury & District Sunday Football League
· Suffolk Girls’ and Women’s Football League
· Suffolk WAYS League
· Suffolk Youth Football League
· Treadfirst Sudbury & Haverhill District Sunday Football League
We appreciate a significant number of clubs and teams affiliated with Suffolk FA play in grassroots leagues affiliated with neighbouring County FAs. Whilst we have limited direct influence with those leagues, we remain in contact with colleagues across borders.
Clubs, teams, players and members will appreciate there is a lot for league committees to consider at the moment; essentially they received the announcement at the same time as everyone else and it takes more time to find solutions than ask questions. Therefore, it may take some time for each league to determine the best way forward based on their unique set of circumstances. We and the management committee of each league are grateful for the patience and understanding offered whilst these discussions take place.
It may be possible for outstanding league and county cup competitions to be played as pre-season matches ahead of the 2020-21 season, whenever that will be, and that is certainly something leagues and Suffolk FA will explore.
Specifically regarding those Suffolk County Cup Finals due to be held at Portman Road and Playford Road, although discussions with Ipswich Town FC are yet to take place because the restart dates of the professional game remain uncertain, it does seem likely that those County Cup Finals scheduled for Ipswich Town facilities will now need to be hosted at other grounds around Suffolk.
We understand the disappointment this would cause. Ipswich Town and Suffolk FA enjoy hosting finals as much as teams enjoy playing at professional facilities, but at least hosting these fixtures at other grounds would generate some much-needed funds within local football.
You’ll tell from the number of ‘mays’ and ‘mights’ that there is still much to be considered, including matters not addressed above, as we now look towards next season. We will continue to communicate through leagues and via the Suffolk FA communication channels as and when appropriate but again we thank you for your patience. Maintaining the ongoing viability of clubs and leagues throughout this period remains the number one concern. Once this period is over and the world returns to whatever normal is, football will have a huge role to play in bringing exercise, passion, friendship, emotion, laughter, relief, hope, joy and everything else which comes with the game back into our lives.
Football is an important pillar of society but let’s maintain perspective at a time when scores of people are seriously ill or even worse. We hope you and loved ones stay safe and healthy.”