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Club forced to withdraw from the Isthmian League

One particular club has been forced to withdraw from the Isthmian League this week, ahead of the 2020/21 season, due to the impact of the coronavirus.

They become one of around 20 clubs to have withdraw from their league since July 2019, with a bulk of those being more recent due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There is a lot of uncertainty for many clubs in the English football league system and still so many unanswered questions. The many hours volunteers spend, the communities teams bring together, it is so sad to see, help and answers are desperately needed.

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The Guernsey FC Board of Directors on Monday evening, with a heavy heart, concluded that due to the travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the club will be unable to fulfil its placing in The Pitching In Isthmian League South East Division for 2020-21.

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 community’s hard fought gains. We have been working with Dr Brink and her team at Public Health 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 said: “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 club’s 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.

It was a month ago that Droylsden resigned from the Northern Premier League and will also take no part in cup competition (FA Cup, FA Trophy and the local county cups) this season.

In a letter sent to the Northern Premier League Chairman Dave Pace described the decision as the most difficult he has ever had to make.

In a letter sent to the Northern Premier League Chairman Dave Pace described the decision as the most difficult he has ever had to make.

However the disruption caused by the Covid-19 crisis has left him with no alternative.

The closing of the social club and its function rooms since the start of the pandemic, the main income source with no indication of any restart on viable trading terms along with a loss of income from the club’s main sponsor has left the club with no visible alternative income stream during the crisis.

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