A very productive meeting was held on Tuesday night at Beversbrook Sports Ground between representatives of the Wiltshire FA, the Corsham Print Wiltshire Senior League and clubs interested in participating in a veteran’s division or divisions run by the Senior League next season. Lyndon Taylor from the Wiltshire FA gave a brief presentation regarding the development of veteran’s football in the county and the current Flexi-League concept. He then went on to set out which clubs in the county had expressed an interest in joining a veteran’s league next season (see attached presentation) before moving on to some ideas that had been developed with input from Jim Thorn from the League. He then opened up the meeting to thoughts and ideas from the representative clubs and it is pleasing to report that all of the clubs present actively participated in this discussion and have helped formulate the shape of the veteran’s football in the county for next season. The final proposals for the divisions or a single division can only be formulated when firm applications are made by clubs but in the meantime it was agreed to collect age demographics from each of the interested clubs to help further inform decisions around divisions.
What was specifically agreed at the consultation meeting was:
• Initial league to commence in September 2019 with, depending on size of the divisions, potential for a second competition starting after Christmas if the initial division sizes are small;
• Geography to be taken into account in formulating the initial divisions to avoid unnecessary long travel distances, again subject to the number of actual applicants to play in the league;
• Games to be played with a duration of 25 minutes each way;
• Games to be scheduled on a fortnightly basis but this would again be reviewed depending on the number of entrants and division sizes;
• In order to reduce the number of nights facilities are required to be hired/used the proposal is for clubs to host a double-header (i.e. two fixtures involving 3 other clubs as well as the host club) at their venue on a game night. This should help generate bar revenue for hosting clubs. In a 5-team division this would involve 2 hosting fixture nights;
• Clubs to specify their “game night” on their application form so that all preferred nights are known ahead of scheduling fixtures;
• Fixtures to be scheduled for the whole season in June/July to enable the booking of facilities well in advance to help secure slots;
• Age limit will initially be set at over 35 but this will be reviewed once the age demographic data is obtained. This was the most debated issue on the night with a number of clubs having an average age over 40. The age demographic data will be used, alongside geography, in formulating the divisions once the number of firm applications is known but the initial season is expected to stick with an over 35 age limit initially;
• League to be run using FA Whole Game System (WGS) with player registrations and other administration run along the same lines as the current Premier and Under 18 Divisions. FA Full-Time will be used for fixture scheduling and referee appointments;
• Rule to be included specific to this league that players cannot participate in the Veteran’s Division if they have played 3 or more games in the current season in a Step 7 League or higher within the National League System; and
• Teams in the league would also have the opportunity to participate in the Veteran’s County Cup competition.
The League and Wiltshire FA would like to express our sincere thanks to the clubs who participated in the consultation meeting in coming up with these proposals and all involved in the League are excited about the prospect of running a veteran’s division or divisions next season. Application forms will shortly be submitted to all interested clubs and we would ask that these are returned as soon as possible as we are keen to collect the data on the average age demographic data. Any clubs who have not as yet expressed an interest in joining the veteran’s division next season but are interested should contact League Secretary Jim Thorn by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A copy of the presentation used to show the league proposal can be downloaded below. This also includes a list of interested teams.
(Article courtesy of Mark Smedley of the Wiltshire Senior League)