Western League suspended again

Exmouth Town goalkeeper Robbie Powell in the thick of the action during the FA Cup home defeat to Me

Exmouth Town goalkeeper Robbie Powell in the thick of the action during the FA Cup home defeat to Melksham Town. Picture: GERRY HUNT - Credit: Archant

Exmouth Town left with an uncertain wait

Exmouth Town remain in a football limbo after the Toolstation Western League confirmed their decision to further postpone matches until December 18.

Although Exmouth are in tier 2 and therefore able to play matches without the tighter tier 3 restrictions, a lot of their opponents are located in the higher tier.

For Exmouth manager Kevin Hill, it all means another period of uncertainty.

“I had about 50 missed messages on Monday, with people asking about what was happening with the league,” said Hill. “We were put back until December 18 because the Western League wanted to make sure things were right.

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“There are a lot of teams in the league from the Bristol area, who will be in a different tier to us under the new Covid rules.

“There are also players who will live in one tier but have to travel to another tier for a game, which obviously can’t happen.

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“The league are trying to work out all the different scenarios.

“If you take our schedule as an example, we were supposed to play Roman Glass on December 16 but they are based in Bristol, so difficult to know what will happen.

“Are we allowed to have tier 3 teams visit Exmouth Town?

“It is very hard as a manager to know what to do next and we’re trying to find out if we can still play friendly fixtures to keep the players fit.”

A Western League statement said that, following guidance from the FA, they have opted to suspend all league fixtures until December 18.

The reason for this decision is that clubs previously indicated that they would not be prepared to play ‘behind closed doors’.

Some clubs have told the league that they cannot play without the revenue generated by their clubhouses.

The effect of these restrictions on clubs is not underestimated by the league and they are currently in the process of consulting with Club officials to determine the best way forward for all concerned. Currently the FA Vase fixtures remain active.

The statement also confirmed that the FA are still looking to restructure the National League System at the end of this season.

There was also vague reference to additional funding for clubs but this will probably be in the form of a loan, rather than a grant.

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