I would like to start this update by sending our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those within the Wiltshire football family who have sadly died, as a result of Covid-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time.
I would also like to acknowledge the huge impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on all of us. I appreciate this is a very challenging time for industry, leisure and recreation but it also places huge pressure on our individual physical health and mental well-being.
In relation to grassroots football, I share your concerns and understand the challenges you are facing. I want to let you know that Wiltshire FA has not been immune to these issues, we too face significant financial challenges over the coming weeks and months. As a result, we have furloughed nine of our existing County FA workforce and are now operating the organisation with a team of four key workers, who have been home-based for the past seven weeks.
As to when football is likely to restart, we still do not know, however one thing is for sure, football will bounce back, and we will be enjoying the beautiful game and all the enrichment it brings to our lives again soon. This being said, I do expect there will be some significant changes to how we adapt to the ‘new normal’ in order to continue to deliver football and we will have to work together to implement solutions that keep all our members safe and healthy.
So, what has Wiltshire FA been doing since the last time I wrote to you? Well we have been working on our preparation for the recommencement of football activity. Our priority is on how best we can continue to help and support you in the future, to ensure that the game is in the best possible position when it resumes.
With the above in mind I am pleased to announce today, the following changes for season 2020/21.
Affiliation – Affiliation costs will be waivered for existing clubs and leagues for the forthcoming season and this will include your public liability insurance.
Referees – There will be no cost for existing referees to register for season 2020/21.
Personal Accident Insurance - Bluefin Sport will continue to support Wiltshire FA affiliated teams through the National Game Insurance Scheme, with premium discounts on all levels of cover. Our minimum cover at Wiltshire FA for Adult teams is Superior 120, which has been reduced from £74.00 to £61.87 for the 2020/21 season. Youth PA minimum cover is Superior Gold which has been reduced from £18.00 and £24.00 to £16.25 for teams U12 and below and £21.24 for U13’s and above respectively. Once affiliation is open, Bluefin Sport’s website will display all cover options available and reduced pricing for you to action accordingly.
County Cup entry fees – We intend to operate all County Cup competitions, as per normal and not increase the cost of entry for season 2020-21. We also intend to play the remaining finals for season 2019/20 and will keep you informed over the coming weeks, if there is any change on this position.
In addition, please remember the Sport England £20 million Community Emergency Fund is still open and to date football clubs have made 1,750 applications to a value of £9m.
For more information can be found on Sport England
I hope this comes as welcome news and goes some way to helping you prepare for the forthcoming season. As it stands, we are working off the assumption that the new season will commence, and we will continue to monitor developments and provide you with regular updates.
It is expected that affiliation will commence in June and more information on the process will be forwarded to you in due course.
In the meantime, all that remains to be said, is keep safe, stay healthy and I look forward to seeing you all back playing soon.