Staffordshire FA CEO, Adam Evans, has issued the following message as the grassroots game returns.
After what seems like the longest and darkest of winters, we are delighted to welcome back the grassroots game after a significant but necessary layoff.
Of course, it goes without saying that football pales into insignificance when it comes to life & death and the immeasurable impact of the pandemic, and our thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected by the virus. It is also fair to say that we have all missed the game that we love and the many benefits that it brings. This fresh start provides us with a great opportunity, and I know that many of you will be chomping at the bit to get back out on the pitch as soon as possible.
For the first time, the traditional formats of the grassroots game have been given dispensation to play into the month of June, and this has given many competitions the opportunity to hopefully complete their seasons in one form or another. The great British weather permitting, games should hopefully be played in drier and warmer conditions, which in turn should provide a positive experience for the players and match officials alike.
However, at the same time it is important that we consider those who do not yet feel comfortable in returning to the game and understand that this will be a longer process for many. It is therefore essential that we think about each personal situation and do our best to ensure that we are collectively doing everything that we can to mitigate the risk of transmission by following The FA’s guidance and the Government’s roadmap to the letter.
The grassroots game will be in the public eye over the coming days & weeks and this presents us all with an opportunity to showcase all that is great about the grassroots game, because what we do over the next few months could influence the long-term return of the game and participation across the board. In the face of significant adversity over the last twelve months, we know that many people are desperate to return to grassroots sport, and this provides us with a great opportunity to encourage more people to get involved; lets ensure that we all play our part in making grassroots football a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment.
The incredible work of our leagues, clubs, coaches, volunteers and match officials, to comply with the previous Government restrictions was commendable, and this has enabled us to be starting from a stronger position this time around. The game has proven that it can return safely, but I would urge all clubs and individuals to maintain this as we collectively embrace the latest restrictions outlined in the FA’s Return of Outdoor Grassroots Football guidance document and the animated video we have produced – both of which can be found below.
The County FA staff remain on hand to support you all through this process, so please do not hesitate to get in touch with us with any questions or queries that you may have, via firstname.lastname@example.org
All that remains to be said is that I wish you all the very best for your respective returns to the game; please enjoy your football, but above all else, please ensure that you do this safely to protect yourself, others around you, and the longer-term future of the game.