Guernsey forced to take a Covid Gap Year

By Ian Townsend

South East Division will run with nineteen clubs this season

Guernsey have been forced to pull out of their Pitching In Isthmian League commitments for 2020-21 due to the ongoing travel restrictions between the Island and the mainland.

A club statement reads as follows:

The club has not taken this decision lightly. However, as we are all aware, we live in unprecedented times and with flights not due to resume between Guernsey and Gatwick ‪until 12th October 2020 at the earliest and cases continuing to rise outside the Bailiwick, we do not believe that it would be feasible to fulfil a 38 match fixture list.

From the outset we said the health and well-being of our bailiwick community is the club’s priority. We are fully committed to protecting our communities hard fought gains. We have been working with Dr Brink and her team at Public Health, Guernsey to look at forming a “Travel Tunnel” and this work is still ongoing in case we are able it utilise it in the future. This risk assessment will be designed to minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19 should the club travel to the mainland to play a fixture and for clubs to travel to Guernsey to play a fixture. This, however, would not totally eliminate the risk.

Club Chairman, Mark Le Tissier explains, "It was an extremely difficult decision to request a suspension from the league this season. This was a decision not taken lightly however, with the flights between Guernsey and Gatwick not operating until the middle of October and the clubs desire to ensure the safety and well being of the players, coaching team and the Islands wider population from the possibility of contracting COVID-19 and bringing it back to the Island we believe it was the right course of action to take in these unprecedented times. We wish all our friends in the league well and hope they stay safe and have a successful season and we look forward to meeting them again in the not too distant future.”

On Saturday the Board of Directors agreed to our request and on Monday, the Alliance Leagues Committee of The FA agreed to support this decision. This has to be approved by the FA Council.

League Chair, Nick Robinson, said “We are delighted to retain Guernsey FC in the League. We have agreed the suspension on the basis that the Club will retain its place at Step 4 in season 2021-2022 and will be considered for placement in the event that circumstances mean we have to change the Competition this season. We have worked closely with Mark and his Board and will continue to do so.

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