September start for Longridge Town and Garstang FC?

Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft is hoping for a return to football in September following information released by the FA last Saturday.

By Gavin Browne
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 8:00 am
Longridge Town had been mounting a promotion challenge when the 2019/20 season was halted
Longridge Town had been mounting a promotion challenge when the 2019/20 season was halted

More than four months after football was suspended, it is hoped there will be a potential kick-off for grassroots teams sooner rather than later.

Subject to any change in government guidance, teams at steps one and two will return no earlier than September 5 after the coronavirus pandemic brought an early end to last season.

Steps three and four are due to be back playing on September 19, while those sides at steps five and six – which include Longridge and Garstang – are set to start from September 5.

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It’s also hoped that the FA Cup extra preliminary round will be played on September 1, while the FA Vase first qualifying round is scheduled for September 19.

The FA has also published a roadmap for a return to competitive football, allowing clubs to train until July 31 with a maximum of 30 people at any session.

It’s hoped that pre-season games can be played in August before grassroots leagues, the men’s National League System and tiers three to six of the Women’s Football Pyramid commence their league matches in September.

Clubs have been advised that a return to competitive football should only happen once necessary risk assessments are completed and comprehensive plans are in place.

Ashcroft said: “We’d had a couple of sessions in smaller groups but, now we’ve been given the nod to get back training, it’s full steam ahead.

“The players have looked after themselves and have all come back in brilliant shape so I’m just planning pre-season games now.

“We need to try and get six games played in August to prepare if the new season is going to start in September.

“We just want football back, I’m sure everyone wants it back.

“Let’s just hope the virus has gone away and we can try to get back to normal – or as near to it as possible.”