THE Chairman of the Fermanagh and Western League admits there will have to be a re-think on how to resume and complete the local football season.
The league had hoped to resume games on Saturday past, November 21 however last week’s announcement by the Northern Ireland Executive that current ‘circuit breaker’ restrictions for non-elite sport were to remain in place for a further two weeks is a major setback for the governing body and it’s member clubs.
The extended restrictions will not now be lifted until this coming Saturday, November 28 and league chairman Neil Jardine believes the earliest that local clubs can expect to play competitively is Saturday December 5, which has been pencilled in for the first round of the Irish Junior Cup.
As things stand that means that the best the Fermanagh and Western League can hope for is to complete one full set of fixtures before the end of the year on Saturday, December 19.
That being the case, Jardine admits that come the January management committee delegates will have to consider alternative options.
He accepts that the league can’t be completed in its current format.
“On the pure logic of it, to try and get another 22 or 24 league matches played with a Junior Cup and everything else it just isn’t going to happen,” said the chairman.
“If you take the logic we had adopted in making our original decision in that clubs and councils would need a week before a return to action then you are looking at December 5 which is the Junior Cup date.
“That means we can only have a full set of Fermanagh and Western fixtures on December 19 with half a dozen games in around the two Junior Cup weeks. We normally don’t play on the 19th but the lack of Christmas parties will make that slightly easier.
“At the November meeting we talked about waiting until January to decide but we might have to look at that again and see what other things can be done.”
FULL STORY IN LAST THURSDAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE