We are all living together through an unprecedented time in our history, struggling with the day-to-day challenges that health worries and isolation from our family, friends and loved ones bring, whilst also getting to grips with new ways of working, and changes to our routine and leisure activities that this lack of freedom has brought.
I never thought I would live through a time where we would have to say that we are stopping football, but sadly this is what we have had to say.
We are going to delay the Lancashire FA County Cups until the start of the new season, which will be after 1st July, and we are currently formulating our plans on how we can make these bigger and better on our return – details will be finalised and then shared with you.
I understand how disappointing it is for you that football, which is a source of joy, excitement, togetherness and camaraderie, has had to be shut down, as I share in that same sense of something missing from my daily life. I know how hard you, our Players, Coaches, Referees, Volunteers and Parents, have worked. I know the investment that you have made and how much this means to you. This is a decision that has not been taken lightly, but has been taken because the health and welfare of all our football community simply has to come first, and so this tough decision has been taken.
I am so grateful for the words of encouragement and support that we have received from our football community and the faith you have shown in us, at Lancashire FA, to steer football through this challenging time. I know that feelings are also running high, as fear meets frustration and disappointment and, for a small proportion of our community, there is a very real struggle to contain anger over this decision. I know that in the heat of the moment emails can be sent that are later regretted, but, abuse of any kind will not be tolerated and I have instructed my colleagues that if they receive any of these type of messages, then they should simply not respond.
My colleagues at Lancashire FA are also reeling from this decision and feeling that same sense of disappointment for the loss of the game they love. I want to thank them all for their support and for doing their best to adjust to this difficult time, making hard decisions for the health and welfare of the entire footballing community, whilst also worrying about their own families and loved ones.
Looking forwards, my thoughts, hopes and wishes, which are echoed by the entire Lancashire FA Team, are firstly that you and your family, friends and loved ones keep well, look after each other, and cope with the many changes and challenges that we are all facing, and secondly, that when we are all free to return to our normal lives, the recovery package that we will be discussing over the coming weeks with the football community, will have supported the football infrastructure so it is ready for the return of our Players, Teams, Coaches, Referees, Volunteers, Parents, Clubs and Leagues.
In the meantime, I want to share with you some of the changes we have made at Lancashire FA to meet the current challenges so that we are ready for the return of football:
- League Weekly WebEx - Q&A with Simon Gerrard every Thursday night.
- Newsletter Updates - providing breaking news as soon as it is available.
- Calls with Lancashire FA - for more information or to discuss a specific situation, please email us and we will arrange a call back to support you.
- Office Partial Closure until 14th April – to adhere to social distancing. This is being reviewed on a weekly basis, full details here.
- Info@lancashirefa.com - email used as the main method of communication (replacing phone calls to the office) and being strictly monitored so we can respond as quickly as we can – as you can imagine, we are experiencing high volumes and really appreciate your patience here.
Lancashire FA County Cup Finals Contingency Plans - we will be discussing this situation with the Leagues and will communicate with Clubs as soon as we finalise the arrangements.