I am happy to say that this year the number of clubs and reps taking part is even bigger, with a maximum of 31 clubs taking part, with 33 representatives over 12 different leagues.
This season will not only see our first-ever juvenile team taking part – FC Salisbury United, who along with Cricklade Town FC have made ERUK their sponsored charity for the forthcoming season – but it will also include our first ever ladies team, Laverstock & Ford Ladies FC. We will also welcome Wessex Futsal Club as our first ever futsal competitor. (Futsal is a 6-a-side game played on an indoor court with smaller goals.)
At present, I understand from the different clubs, leagues and the FA themselves, that the hope is to get grassroots football up and running as soon as possible. It is great to see the Premiership League and the other top leagues back up and running, even though it is behind closed doors. As of 1st August, non-league clubs can now start playing “friendly” games, but again it will be behind close doors.
Currently, the biggest problem is the two-metre distancing rule, especially when it comes to the top-level leagues. The smaller clubs would also have difficulty with this as it would lower attendance at matches, meaning fewer gate takings, which could lead to some clubs folding due to financial difficulties.
It has been great to see the different clubs finding ways to support themselves throughout the lockdown. Many set up JustGiving pages to help with fundraising, some did specialist football memorabilia auctions, others did “virtual tickets” on days that they would have had matches.
You passed your Challenge 10,000 fundraising goal this year and announced you would continue supporting research into epilepsy, which of course was fantastic news for us! In what other ways have you been raising funds?
Back in March, I achieved the minimum amount that I pledged to raise – £10,000. I have now pledged to double that amount to £20,000.