League expects thumbs up for extra week

Fordingbridge Sports Club was just one of the local grounds under water on Saturday.

Fordingbridge Sports Club was just one of the local grounds under water on Saturday.

First published in Sport

THE Sydenhams Wessex League are anticipating a thumbs up from The Football Association for Step 5 clubs to extend their season after a freakishly wet winter.

But SWL secretary John Gorman says the Wessex’s aim is to get all games played by the last Saturday in April and only use an extra week if strictly necessary.

With the south of England particularly hard hit by incessant rain, the Sussex County League are among those who want an extension to the league season granted.

The Sydenhams League would also favour an extra week but, at this stage, only for emergency back-up.

Gorman said: “There’s a layer of bureaucracy between ourselves and The FA and my understanding is that a focus group will be meeting with The FA at Wembley this week to request a week’s extension to the season.

“From our point of view, we’ve said we’ll do our best to get all our fixtures played by April 26. We wouldn’t mind the extra week to keep in reserve, but whereas some leagues are already pencilling matches into that extra week, we would only use it if we had to.

“Our situation is manageable at the moment, but it doesn’t mean we can be complacent and if the FA offered us a week’s extension we’d be grateful.

“The league is doing it’s best to get the season finished on time, but we don’t want to impose awful problems on clubs.

“My personal view is that the FA will grant an extra week because there are other leagues in a far worse position than we are. What must it be like in the West Country for example?”

Fareham Town are the hardest hit of the Sydenhams Premier clubs. With less than three months of the season remaining, they still have 24 league games outstanding – plus a semi-final of the Russell Cotes Cup.

A statement on the club website said Town hoped “common sense” would prevail with the provision of an extra week.

It continued: “We appreciate that some weeks, even if the season is extended, we will still be required to play four games within a seven-day period, but believe it would be unsafe on the players to expect them to play four matches a week for three months consistently. It would also make a mockery of the competition by doing so.”

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