After the recent unanticipated announcement by the Northern Premier League regarding the resumption of league football from the 19th December, the clubs board of directors have discussed the situation. Taking into account the results of the government’s tiering system review, released yesterday. Sheffield Football Club does not support the planned optional re-start as of the 19th December or the mandatory re-start for the 26th December.
At the forefront of any concern is the safety of our club’s players, staff, volunteers, supporters and visiting guests. Although it is the responsibility of each home club to produce and implement necessary health and safety due diligence for associated facilities, there is a clear conflict of interest when issuing mandatory instructions for fixtures to resume with no reasonable preparation period, consultation to member clubs and a sensible approach to understanding what can actually be put into practice. With sole liability and responsibility remaining with Sheffield Football Club and the fact we remain in the highest level of local restrictions, we do not believe we can minimise the risk of COVID 19 to acceptable levels to ensure safety to anyone involved in our matchday experience.
Following on from the above, there are a number of restrictions while in a tier 3 area which make a return to football at this current stage completely financially unviable. The expenditure to bring football back while in the highest tier of restrictions for both North East Derbyshire Council and The Sheffield City Region far outweigh the status quo.
We have formally communicated with The Northern Premier League outlining a plethora of concerns and instructed that we will not restart until a methodical and constructive re-start plan can be consulted and agreed upon by its member clubs.
We understand this is a very difficult situation for the NPL and the trident leagues as a whole offering no easy solutions. However such an abrupt decision to restart with no consultation and out of sync with the Isthmian and Southern counter parts we have urged to delay any mandatory re-start until January, pending a constructive consultation of member clubs and methodical review of the restrictions in place.
Sheffield Football Club do want to return to football for a multitude of reasons, but only when it is safe to do so. We will not damage the long term future of the club, which obviously is extremely important to us.
We wish all our supporters, players, staff, volunteers, officials and families a safe and merry Christmas.