The following is a message sent to member County Associations by SEESFA Secretary, Mark Sturgeon on 1 June 2020 in respect of the Association's Annual General Meeting.
I hope that you and your families and friends are staying safe and well in these difficult times.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, and since The FA and ESFA suspended grassroots and schools’ football respectively in response to the Government's announcement on 16 March, schools have closed their gates to all except vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers. Staying safe and healthy remains the priority for everyone. For those planning reopening strategies, I wish you all well.
Whilst there continue to be limitations on public gatherings to ensure social distancing during this period of lockdown, it will not be possible for a physical AGM to take place. Moreover, given the ongoing uncertainty, opportunity for decision-making is limited.
In light of this, and following discussions with the Chairman and Treasurer, we have taken the regrettable decision to postpone the SEESFA AGM, which was scheduled for 9 June 2020.
Competition entries for next season, which were to be made prior to the AGM, are also deferred to a later date. We will, of course, keep counties informed and, to that end, communicate a further update in the autumn term and notification of intent when we can be certain when, if and how the season can commence safely.
We must balance hope and optimism with pragmatism and realism. The current circumstances clearly imply that we are a long way from schools being able to function normally. Moreover, it seems that participation in many sports, including football, may only be possible when the final stage of the government’s ‘roadmap’ is reached, as evidenced by a vaccine, although Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, did provide some cautious hope here in response to Robbie Savage’s question at a coronavirus briefing.
The ESFA Chairman noted recently, ‘we may well need to write off the entire 2020-21 schools’ football season’; whilst we are naturally hopeful that this will not ultimately prove to be the case, we must wait and see, and unfortunately this saddening potential prospect has had to feature in our planning.
Many thanks for your understanding in these unprecedented times. We know that the determination and commitment from those involved in representative football across the South East will help the sport to bounce back when it is safe to resume.
Above all, stay safe and stay well.