Local football leagues planning to finish season

Action from the East Budleigh meeting with Beer Albion Reserves. Picture IAN HITCHCOCK

Action from the East Budleigh meeting with Beer Albion Reserves. Picture IAN HITCHCOCK - Credit: Archant

The Joma Devon & Exeter League has offered a rare glimpse of hope in these frustrating times with their plans to complete the current season. 
The League Committee met on Monday evening to discuss certain changes to the rules that will be aimed at safeguarding against injuries, as well as working out a plausible fixture schedule. 
Following a club survey, the large majority of teams have supported the idea of a resumption but those who have opted out will not be penalised.   
“We have been discussing all the plans and measures to resume football,” said Neil Anthony, General Secretary to the League. “The restructure of our divisions before this season has thankfully proven to be a sensible move. 
“We sent out a questionnaire to clubs at the beginning of the month and the vast majority responded to say they wanted to restart the season. 
“Clubs are desperate to get back playing and, in discussion with the FA, we have adapted the rules slightly to fit with the current circumstances. 
“One example is a change from three substitutes to five permitted in a game, plus rolling substitutions. 
“There will be a lot of games played in a relatively short space of time, along with the fact clubs have obviously not been able to train properly, so we wanted to offer something that hopefully limits injuries. 
“We are trying to encourage a return to structured football but the main emphasis is on enjoyment, giving a platform for teams to play. 
“There have been a few clubs that have pulled out for this season but this will go without any penalty, and we will welcome them back to the league for next season. 
“There are obviously details to be worked out in terms of fixtures and the hope is to get everything finished by the end of May to avoid conflict with the cricket season as much as possible.” 
It won’t be completely normal in terms of the final league table but competitive football is back on the menu, and congratulations to league officials for finding a solution.  

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