In these unprecedented times it must be said that this season for our League and all other leagues has been a real battle almost from the last weekend in September when the rain began and if I am not mistaken we had at least one or more games called off every weekend until the season was correctly bought to an end by the FA following the Coronavirus outbreak.

It is fair to say that we were always going to struggle to get the number of games outstanding played and we have certainly learnt a lot about division sizes with hopefully next season in mind.

As you are all aware the FA took the decision to end all youth football for season 2019 – 2020 following the outbreak of Coronavirus as we all make huge adjustments to everyday life which far outweigh at present the need to be playing football or indeed any sport. It is often hard to describe the situation we all find ourselves in, and every one of us will be dealing with our own situations of “social distancing” “self-isolation” and the like in our own ways and of course if any of you have loved ones that have the virus and are currently being treated in hospital, we wish them a full recovery.

It is impossible at this stage to know when the enforced lockdown will be lifted and everyone’s health and safety is of course paramount in these “historical times”.

I am personally very aware that my Committee are also facing their own challenges and we have had to take a decision that none of us when we put our hands up to help run this fantastic league thought we would have to make. As I hope all of you know, I ran a youth team for lots of years so I know how much time and effort goes into just getting a team playing on a Sunday and nobody misses football more than I do. I say this as the decision we have made as a League Committee has not been taken lightly and will undoubtedly disappoint a few, but I am sure that having had time to reflect it is the right decision, and my message at the end will I hope leave you all in no doubt that we want to make season 2020 – 2021 the best ever for the players of this League.

I am therefore on behalf of the Committee advising you that the Kent Youth League Management Committee has made the following decision :

The Kent Youth League has unanimously agreed to follow the FA’s recommendation applied to the National League system and Woman’s pyramid. All league results and divisional league tables  will be expunged and no winners and runners up will be determined. To avoid any doubt this will apply to every division in the League.

With regards to Cup Finals. The season would otherwise officially end on 30th June 2020 after which all clubs can then start signing new players for next season. Given that our Cups are age banded and we recognise that players will move on to new teams, it has again been unanimously agreed to cancel all Cup Finals and award a special Cup Final medal to those teams and their players who have made the Finals but unfortunately will not have the chance to play the game.

We will contact those clubs in due course who have made the Finals this season, but of course at present this is “non-essential” as our Suppliers Faversham Trophies are currently not working.

You will have received from Cat in the last few days our new online application form. Whilst again we accept that trials and even meeting up with your players are a long way away, we urge you to complete the application forms and return to us at this stage with NO MONEY as we want to get an idea of clubs intentions for next season. We also understand the huge economic impact of this virus and the heartache for many at this time who have seen their businesses fold, or who have been furloughed by their employers including many staff at the Kent FA. That is why we will insist on no monies being paid at this stage.

We will work with you as we always do but with the proviso that we realistically have no idea when things will change at present and so things will need to remain flexible for the time being.

The FA through Sport England has made some monies available to help clubs in these difficult times. Please click here to find out more.

I will end by ensuring you all that the League will be here to support the return to football whenever that may be and to hope that you can understand the decision we have taken – we can never please everyone in anything that we do, but surviving the next few months both financially, mentally, and healthily is just too important for us all.

For those of you who are working in the NHS and other front line services or who have family in these roles – may I on behalf of the League THANK YOU and please note that your daily efforts in doing what you do receives total admiration from me personally.

Here’s hoping to see you all soon fit and healthy and thank you as always for your continued support.