All of 2020/21’s Essex County Cup competitions have been concluded with immediate effect, supporting leagues and competitions to best consider how they can continue to provide participation opportunities this season.
Following a period of very careful consideration of all factors involved, and in consultation with local leagues, the Essex County FA Board of Directors have made the exceptionally difficult decision that there will be no further matches played in the County Cups this season.
This decision has been taken to bring clarity to grassroots football in Essex, relating to County Cup competitions. It means leagues and clubs can plan scenarios accordingly for any potential return, and to give as much opportunity as possible for league programmes to be concluded, in turn trying to maximise participation.
The County FA continue to monitor the Government’s communications on any potential revision of lockdown restrictions and, if/when football returns, it is felt crucial that the football fixture landscape needs to be as uncomplicated a picture as possible for leagues and clubs to maximise any remaining time in the season.
This decision means County Cups won't impact on competitions’ abilities to complete their own fixtures. The decision was extremely difficult to make. However, the following factors were amongst those considered:
* November lockdown (2.0) had a significant impact on grassroots competitions, with 682 scheduled County Cup ties lost, totalling over 48% of the whole season’s County Cup ties
* at the time of national lockdown 3.0, 35% of County Cup ties had taken place, with some individual County Cup competitions yet to begin
* the need to maximise any remaining weeks of the season, should football be allowed to return, towards completion of individual league programmes to support club and team participation
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Chairman Andy Chaplin, explained: “It was fully recognised the experience and opportunity that County Cups provide and how integral these competitions are within a normal season.”
“However, the current National Lockdown, following on from the November Lockdown, has severely impacted the ability for the competitions to progress. The collective focus continues to be on the wider landscape of grassroots football and supporting leagues and clubs to return whenever it is safe and practical to do so in the future.”
It has also been agreed that, as a small goodwill gesture, any team who was still in an Essex County FA County Cup at the conclusion of the 2020/21 competitions will be given free entry to next season’s competitions. It is understood this will be of little compensation to the disappointment of not having a County Cup played to completion in 2021.
However, we hope it goes a small way to demonstrate our own disappointment at this news. We wish everybody good luck for the remainder of the season but recognise that, much like society, football is likely to be unpredictable for the foreseeable future. More importantly, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe.
Information on Essex grassroots football can be found in the menus above, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.