Croydon FC’s dreams of playing their first home fixture of the season at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre this Saturday have been crushed after the FA this morning confirmed the postponement of all “non-elite” football due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The postponement of fixtures also affects other local non-league clubs, including Croydon Athletic, Whyteleafe, Balham and Carshalton Athletic, although the first round of the FA Cup, due to be played this weekend, has been given the go-ahead.
It’s a covid double whammy for Croydon FC, who since March have been shut out of their home ground, the council-owned Croydon Arena in South Norwood, because the operators, GLL, say that they cannot afford the costs of re-opening under covid-safe conditions.
All of Croydon’s 2020-2021 season fixtures in the first division of the Southern Counties East League so far have had to be played away. The temporary move to the NSC came after weeks of hard work and negotiations by club officials.
Tomorrow night’s Croydon Athletic Premier Division fixture at Welling seems likely to be the last game for local non-league clubs for at least a month.
Meanwhile, all Croydon Council’s GLL-operated leisure facilities, including the borough’s swimming pools and leisure centres, will be closed again from Thursday as part of the latest lockdown restrictions.
In a statement issued by the FA this morning, they have instructed the suspension of all fixtures and training across a wide range of tiers of the game, men’s and women’s.
“Our aim is to ensure that the 2020-2021 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues … and the County Football Associations to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required…
“Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and we would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions.
“However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK government’s new national covid-19 restrictions during this period.”
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