Yorkshire Amateur joint manager Craig Ogilvie has plotted out a potential route for the Toolstation Northern Counties East League to complete the season.
Clubs have entered the enforced break because of the new lockdown measures and overall the two NCEL Divisions are in better shape than other leagues such as the North West Counties.
Two clubs have played 11 fixtures and many have seen action ten times – including the Ammers – in just six weeks. Subject to further restrictions beyond December and the end date being flexible, Ogilvie reckons the campaign is still currently capable of reaching a proper conclusion.
“We were chatting after the game on Tuesday night and myself and (joint manager) Neil (Sibson) can’t see it starting again until the New Year,” Ogilvie told Non League Yorkshire.
“I think they’ll write off December and start again in January. Now we have been playing a lot of Saturday and Tuesday games and we’ve played ten games in six weeks.
“So it is more than possible for us to get the season finished. That’s the first thing I would say. On the whole it is definitely achievable for the season to finish, it is just that we need everyone’s input to make sure it does.
“I’ve heard people say we can’t start straight back and we have to have a four-week period to start training again. If you ask nine out of ten footballers in this league, they’ll say start back straightaway.
“There’s got to be a collective willingness and approach to get the season finished. I think one solution would be to extend the season into June.
“Everyone is more than capable of playing Saturday-Tuesday from March onwards. There’s nothing stopping us from playing two games a week in February if the weather holds up.
“March would be a better time to start doing it. But if each team can play at least eight games in March, then again in April and May. June if necessary. That’s loads of time to get the season finished.
“Extending to June would allow for any other developments or bad weather.”
Ogilvie has also called for “more clarity” on the FA’s rules for postponements related to players self-isolating, showing symptoms or positive Covid-19 tests.
“I’ve seen one rule in one league and then another in a different league,” he said.
“There needs to be one rule for all and there needs to be more clarity and one way of working. I was saying this at the start of the season.
“The more complicated we make it, the more unlikely the league will finish. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take the virus seriously because I’m not.
“I missed the Jarrow game because I had to go for a Covid test so we could have easily called that game off for Covid-issues.
“We have also had a couple of lads who have been affected and we have told them to stay away and carried on playing.
“Maltby, their goalkeeper was out for two weeks self-isolating, they cracked on with a striker in goal and went to games with two subs. But then I’ve seen other games postponed so I don’t really understand the rules.”
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NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. When we properly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
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