St Ives and St Neots set for instant return to playing as league and FA reveal plans
- Credit: Archant
Both St Ives Town and St Neots Town will be thrust straight back into the fray of competitive matches should the government’s restrictions end as planned.
Grassroots football has been suspended for the duration of the four-week period but both the leagues and FA have started to release details of their restart strategies for the dates after December 2.
Over half the Southern League teams, home of both Ives and Saints, voted for December 12 as the date of the first league game back.
However, both will get an even earlier start with their delayed FA Trophy first round matches, at home to Grantham Town and Kings Langley respectively, set for Tuesday, December 8.
The second round will take place a week later with the third round just four days after that.
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The Southern League said: “Having taken into consideration the answers to the questionnaire sent to clubs regarding the restart date, we will officially restart on Saturday, December 12, as voted for by 59 per cent of clubs, provided that the second lockdown finishes as planned.
“If not, the league may need to look again at the situation.
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“However, should any club wish to restart on either Saturday, December 5, or the following midweek or, indeed, play matches on both dates, the league would have no objection.
“The season will restart based on the four divisions and the fixtures already scheduled or being re-scheduled by the league.
“The league is looking to re-arrange as many matches postponed during the lockdown period that would have experienced excessive travel times for a Saturday later in the season.”
That would mean St Ives would start restart their Premier Division Central fixtures at home to Rushall Olympic before going to Coalville Town on December 19.
St Neots meanwhile would be on the road to Corby Town in Division One Central before returning to Rowley Park on December 19 with Halesowen Town the visitors.
The Southern League have not extended the campaign though which is still set to finish on Saturday, May 8, with play-off semi-finals on Tuesday, May 11, and the finals themselves on either Saturday, May 15, or Sunday, May 16.