“What are we doing here?” – Butler gives thoughts on latest FA Guidelines

Last weekend saw me and Kelsey head to a match for the first time in 140 days, with our second game coming three days later. But for some the long wait for a match goes on and is set to continue for at least another week or so.

Pre-season friendlies have been booked in over the next month or so ahead of the current prospective start dates in September. But currently all games are to be played behind closed doors to spectators, with direction initially given to clubs from steps 3-6 that only club officials, volunteers or authorised media can attend – with social distancing measures in place.

So what about clubs at step 7? Clubs, who play in your open fields and public parks for example? What about them?

Well, on Wednesday the FA released further correspondence advised that ALL games need to be played behind closed doors. Even those at step 7 as they are on the National League System.

….what are we doing here? Honestly.

Take Brockworth Albion or Longlevens Reserves for example. They play in open fields that are completely accessible to the general public. How on Earth can the FA expect clubs to police who is watching the game in a public area?

Both play at home on Saturday, so what is stopping anybody from going to watch?

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But yet the weird thing is, you aren’t allowed to go and watch but if they have a club house you can join them for a pint as long as you adhere to social distancing measures and complete a register for the track and trace guidelines.

Take a second to read that again. I’ll wait.

Exactly. You aren’t allowed in the eyes of the FA to go to a public field and watch a game of football, with let’s be fair here, a small number of people. Despite the fact that you have a free roam to ensure social distancing and small groups guidelines are kept to.

But yet you can cram into a club house to get a drink, or go to the pub afterwards and be sat within four walls with probably more people on a warm, summer Saturday night.

I am sure many people will agree with me when I say it is pretty ridiculous and unfortunately highlights just how out of touch the FA is with grassroots football and it is painful for everyone given the current circumstances and the simple fact that clubs haven’t had any income for the last four months.

At the time of writing I have seen online a number of clubs confirming they are either folding or withdrawing from their respective league’s due to lack of income, sponsorship or just overall support and whilst pointless guidelines are getting published like this it is likely to be something we see more of.

Kelsey and I are intending on going to watch Quedgeley Wanderers vs Brimscombe & Thrupp on Saturday and we will socially distance as expected, before we go to the pub and mix with everyone in a restricted space.

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