Ken Brooke – Chief Executive
Welcome to season 2023 – 2024 as we enter our 43rd season as a League.
I want to start by thanking all my Committee and Officers who continue to work tirelessly across the season and to bring you a product which we believe is the best around. This was evidenced this year as we were heavily over subscribed with teams and clubs wanting to join the League which is something that we can be very proud of.
I would like to thank our sponsors and supporters of the League and a special shout to Colin and Sue at Faversham Trophies who wait all season to come into their own, with supplying all our winners and runners up with their shield and medals, and of course for our Cup Finals. I know they go the extra yard for you all and we are very grateful for their continued support.
We have changed a few things for the season ahead. First up, it will now be the club’s responsibility to ensure that Managers and Coaches who represent the team in the dugout, will have their badges put together by the club and given out. The League will be implementing a “zero tolerance” on those individuals who fail to have their badge on a Sunday. This is to ensure from a safeguarding perspective that we are ensuring that only those individuals known to clubs and have their checks in place are looking after the teams on a Sunday.
Secondly, we have changed how tied Divisions will be sorted. If two teams finish on equal points at then end of the season, the winners will be decided by the head-to-head results between the two teams. If they cannot be separated, then there will be a play off.
Thirdly in our Cup competition, if a team drawn away in the Cup has access to a 4G / all weather pitch, then the home team (assuming they play on grass) have 2 attempts to play the game. After the second postponement the game will be transferred to the away team and their all weather pitch.
We have also listened to clubs and parents and reduced the numbers of teams playing Under 16 football. This is to try and ensure that their seasons finish before GCSE revision and exams start.
We hope these changes will prove positive.
I have steered away from adult behaviour across the season. The vast majority will behave in a fashion that is acceptable to all. However, we now have to accept that there will always be a minority who will do things that we find unacceptable, but the punishments handed down by the County FA’s are far more severe than they have been, and we now have the support of the FA who will for serious offenders find themselves with the possibility of having points deducted………something I have campaigned to the FA for years. It’s not perfect but it is a very good start.
I did attend and host six meetings across the close season last year when all Managers and Coaches were asked to attend and here directly what we were expecting. Again a few and a small minority clearly overstepped the mark and were dealt with……. receiving match day bans and similar.
I hope we can continue to provide a competitive environment for the players, and we all have a duty to behave in an acceptable way. Please try to share this message with parents and managers and coaches.
I would like to place on record my thanks to Kent FA for their continued support, especially on the discipline side. My thanks to those clubs who hosted our Cup Finals: Maidstone United, Glebe, Sheppey United and Tonbridge Angels. We had some excellent finals, and our Thursday night matches are a must to come and watch.
I always like to talk about the match officials on our League. We appointed Alan Faulkner as our Referee Secretary and we have seen a great improvement on matches we have been able to cover, and we have seen some excellent performances from the Referee panel.
We continue to ask all clubs to make the matchday experience a good one for the official. Hospitality for the official goes a long way to keep Referees wanting to referee on the League. A lot of the feedback we receive is that the officials enjoy the quality of football and the challenges it brings. However, we do hope that we can see improved behaviour, but we now have a team of Referees who will deal with these matters in the correct manner.
Can I personally thank every Referee who covered a game for us last season.
The season will start this season on Sunday 10th September, and end 12th May 2024. There will be no games on Christmas and New Years Eve and Easter Sunday 31st March 2024.
Welcome to all new clubs who have joined the League this season. We hope you enjoy your season with us and moving forward as well.
Finally, let’s remember that we are providing over 3,000 young people with an opportunity to play football every Sunday – just take stock of those numbers. The great stories we keep reading about players going on to play professional football who started in the KYL……I always feel a sense of pride when I read about these great achievements.
Enjoy the season, and I look forward to seeing many of you across the season.