Northumberland FA and Durham FA release joint statement clarifying grassroots football stance
Both bodies took the decision to release a statement after several new restrictions were imposed on areas in the North East follow a rise in the level of positive Covid-19 cases.
The FA’s have confirmed that they are “working closely with our local authorities to minimise the impact on football”.
However, clubs in South Tyneside, Gateshead and Sunderland that play in leagues below step six of the non-league system will be without fixtures for the next week.
That means that Wearside League clubs such as Boldon CA, Farringdon Detached and Gateshead Leam Rangers will be out of competitive action for a second consecutive weekend – although can continue to hold training sessions.
The statement also stressed that clubs must follow the guidance that has been issued and that the situation will be closely monitored.
It also warned that further restrictions may be implemented over the next week if they are required.
Northumberland FA acting chief executive, Andrew Rose-Cook commented: “Football is hanging by a thread here in the North East.
“We know how important the game is to our football community and we urge everyone to stick to the guidelines.
"The alternative is that football will be suspended.”
Durham County FA’s Chief Executive, John Topping, added: “We hope that all connected with the game will adhere to the restrictions so that we can get football back to the way it was.
“I would urge you all to follow the guidance this weekend so that we can continue to play the game we all love.”
There are three Ebac Northern League fixtures planned for this weekend including Seaham Red Star’s visit to FA Vase finalists Consett.
The league released their own statement on Friday afternoon confirming that all three fixtures can go ahead with a limited capacity of 300 spectators – although the limit for spectator numbers is expected to be reviewed after the weekend.
A league statement read: “Following the Government decision made in consultation with Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham, we can confirm that our league fixtures will continue to be held.
“And following further discussions between the Northumberland and Durham FAs and the local authorities in the region affected by the new restrictions, we have been informed that a decision has now been taken that fixtures over the weekend can have 300 spectators present.
“The situation for spectator numbers will be further reviewed on Monday.
“If spectators decide to attend a game, then we would urge them to follow Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.
“We would also urge everyone involved in the league to follow the safety measures at our clubs to ensure that we can continue to hold fixtures,” the statement added.
The majority of Northern League clubs are in FA Vase action this weekend and those ties will also go ahead as planned with limited attendances.