December 2020 Update
We did hope to get this update out to you all earlier in the week and update you all to the current situation but things did not really settle until the middle of the week when the FA released a statement Wednesday and most of you will be aware now on the current situation.
Whilst the club and most of our members fall within London, which is Tier 2, having Kent in Tier 3 makes things very complicated for us as a “border” club. We affiliate to two counties, the Kent FA (juniors) and the Amateur Football Alliance (seniors), which is primarily for London clubs. This is further complicated by the fact that the Vets play in a league which affiliates to a further county, the London FA. This has all meant we have had to digest guidance from 3 counties and 5 leagues.
The current guidance states clubs or players cannot travel from tier 3 to tier 2 to play football (unless you are under 18 on 31st August 2020) and given many of our teams play in leagues with teams in London and Kent this has meant such leagues are unable to operate.
Below is a full summary of the current situation;
Tandridge Youth League - junior section – boys – games proceeding
Kent Girls & Ladies Football League – u18 girls – games suspended until at least Jan 10th
Kent County League – Senior 1st and 2nd team - games suspended until at least Jan 9th
Southern Amateur League – Senior 3rd team – games proceeding but because many of our 3rd XI squad live in Kent they have had to suspend themselves form playing further games
South London Vets League – games suspended until further notice.
Given we can play football against tier 2 sides there may be a number of friendlies played for teams in suspended leagues. Each team will be responsible for this so contact you manager or coach for details.
Where games are proceeding the club will be following the same rules that were laid out prior to the lock down, so the same procedures will need to be followed. In addition, because the Tandridge league has teams in Tier 3 still playing, the club will also be seeking assurances from clubs in Tier 3 that only the absolute minimum people required will be travelling to the club and any one that does travel will need to fully respect social distancing.
Given the lack of football, and the tight restrictions on hospitality venues the board has also taken the decision that the clubhouse will not be opened for anything other than toilet facilities. This will be reviewed in a few weeks or if matters develop.
In other news we were advised last week that the clubs application for a 3g pitch and clubhouse extension has been refused. This is without a doubt a set back but it certainly has not put an end to the project.
The reasons for refusal were two technical and environmental matters, namely flood risk and the access road. What is rather frustrating is that we were not advised of these matters prior to the refusal so we were not able to respond and our planning consultant has advised the case has been mismanaged by Bromley council. We have considered appealing the decision but we currently believe a resubmission in the near future is a better option.
There were a lot of positives and apart from these two matters the plans were deemed acceptable, so we just need to address these matters in any further submissions and we should be able to procure the planning permission we are seeking.
Addressing these matters could result in some significant further expenditure so the Board are currently taking advice and talking to local councillors to review our position and we will update you in due course.
Finally, those of you that have been down the club this weekend will have noted that the first team had a significant covering of sand. This was part of a number of measures which have been undertaken in the past 4 weeks to address a local patch on the No 1 pitch which was not draining and was getting waterlogged still. This does seem to have worked and the pitch was in good condition today and adequately stood up to two games.
To this end, all that remains to be said is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and for those that cannot play, all being well we will be welcoming you back to the John Cooper Ground in the new year.
Stay safe and keep well.