16th Apr, 2021

Reds and Church hope lockdown exit plan will shed light on season's conclusion

Ben Tyler 17th Feb, 2021

SOUTHERN League Premier Central clubs Redditch United and Alvechurch will await to hear the implications of next Monday’s address by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the government’s exit plans from the third national lockdown – which may finally bring their 2020/21 season to an early close.

Any decision to bring the curtain down on Steps Three to Six of the non-league ladder will be orchestrated by the Football Association, who have decided to delay taking any action until hearing of the latest government instruction on reducing lockdown restrictions.

While the outcome may be a negative one as far as the prospect of Matt Clarke’s Reds and Ian Long’s Church teams returning to the pitch are concerned, a decision on continuing – or bringing to an immediate end – the current campaign will at least put a stop to the uncertainty that has surrounded the grassroots level of the game in the previous weeks and months.

It has also been revealed, per a Football Association statement, that any resolution to the 2020/21 season will take into consideration the action taken by the National League and National League North/South – at Step One and Two respectively – who have been voting on the outcome of their respective divisions.

There could be a situation, for example, whereby Redditch and Alvechurch’s season continues, whilst Worcestershire rivals Kidderminster Harriers in National League North abandon their campaign with immediate effect.

Should play resume for either side, a restart date of early March has been recommended, though this will again be impacted directly by the Prime Minister’s outlining of plans to bring the nation out of the current lockdown.

By way of comparison, the Reds and Church had completed 32 and 29 fixtures respectively at the beginning of March 2020 prior to the abandonment of the 2019/20 season, but have only played a combined total of 17 league matches between them this time around, statistics which offer little realistic hope of a full league programme being completed.

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