SECRETARY ANNUAL REPORT 2020
I doubt I will ever have a write a stranger Annual Report than this one. A season that was progressing really well, suddenly came to a halt due to COVID19. We now all live in a very different world which will make next season very different as well.
I hope that everyone connected with the League is safe and well, however I am sure that some people will have lost love ones during this time. Our thoughts are very much with all of you in particular.
On the field.
Prior to the season halting the League had one hundred and sixteen teams which was up on the previous season finish of one hundred and thirteen sides and the trend of the League increasing certainly is continuing for next season.
As I referred to in last year’s Annual Report we made further adjustments to our fixture cancellation policy and we appear to have struck a balance between having games decided on the field of play and in the Committee Room. On at least two occasion Clubs who couldn’t field sides, suddenly could when advised that points would be awarded and even deducted for failing to fulfil the fixture, so we will be carrying on with the same policy next season.
The League played an Over 45 Representative against our friends from the RAF at Aveley FC, which resulted in a 3-2 defeat. Sadly the game v Wales FA fell foul to COVID19 Lockdown. Thanks once again to Steve Edkins and Eddie O’Neill for making the one game happen and the preparations for the Wales game.
Normally in this section I pick out some highlights from the season, but due to having to declare all Divisions null and void I cannot do this. We are hoping to conclude the Cup Competitions in October and November.
Discipline and Fair Play
Again overall discipline was very good in the League when you take into account the number of games played and that every game has a registered Referee. Sin Bins were introduced by the FA and we weren’t aware of any issues caused with this change. Due to the shortened season is wasn’t possible to assess the overall impact
Normally the Divisionally Sportsmanship winners do not have to pay pay their Annual Subscription to the League in the following season. However due to the season ending early we made the decision to pay out the awards in cash to the Clubs to assist with their cash flow in April.
Administration was generally good within the League. Email addresses were made mandatory as part of the registration process and this change happened very smoothly and puts the League in a great position as the FA are going to make this a mandatory requirement in future. One thing we won’t have to worry about thanks to all your efforts.
As with the Sportsmanship Awards, the Administration awards were paid out in cash to Clubs in April to assist with their cash flow. Both these awards being paid in cash is the reason why there is a nearly £2000 increase in these awards showing in the accounts.
Greene King advised us that last season was their final year of sponsoring the League. We would like to thank them for their support of the League over the years. We did commence the search for a new sponsor however this has again been affected by COVID19. Asking Companies to sponsor the League at this time doesn’t seem the appropriate thing to do so we intend to run without a sponsor for this year. We would prefer to have the right sponsor rather than rushing into an agreement. .
As advised in last season’s Annual Report this was my last season as the Referee Appointment Secretary. We were lucky enough to have six people come forward to express an interest in taking over. This led to Chris Crawford, Ryan Anderson and Kieran Gayler stepping forward to learn the role during the season. They all did a fantastic job which lead to the League again having 100% coverage. Due to personal circumstance Kieran cannot continue but Chris and Ryan will, which is great news.
We introduced a Referees Telephone number for Saturday morning’s which worked really well as it diverted calls to the person who was covering the role each match day.
Thank you once again to all the League Officers who have given up so much of their spare time to run the League. I would personally like to thank Steve Newlyn for his support this year. COVID19 meant a major increase in work with my employers, leaving very little time for football matters. Without Steve’s help and support we wouldn’t be in the good position we are now.
New Club Representatives were elected at last year’s AGM and they certainly made a valuable contribution with their questions and different views.
I wish you all well for the coming season, with the request that we all follow the Government/FA advice on playing football in a COVID secure environment so we can keep everyone including our families safe and well, whilst enjoying the benefits that being involved in football gives to our physical and mental health.