UCL Pause League As Part of FA Suspension of Grassroots Football
Rugby Town's promotion push has been put on hold following the inevitable suspension of the United Counties League on Monday due to the coronavirus crisis currently enveloping the country.
Whilst leagues in the level above Town had already joined the professional game in calling off matches as a precautionary response to the spread of Covid-19, the UCL had earlier that day signalled their intention of continuing with their schedule following the completion of most of their fixtures last weekend.
However following the content of Boris Johnson's media conference on Monday afternoon, the league issued an updated statement confirming a hiatus.
UCL Chairman Alan Poulain reflected in his communication: "Having listened to the briefing by the Prime Minister regarding the current status of the coronavirus, the Directors and myself have taken the responsible decision to pause the league until further notice.
"We are pausing the league rather than suspending with an end date, so that we can react to changing circumstances better than if we keep moving the end date.
"The main reason for pausing the League is that by playing or facilitating football we are furthering social interaction, which has been recommended to be avoided, and which the playing of football would have encouraged."
Poulain also acknowledged the typical demographics of those involved in organising football at Valley's level. He continued:"The second reason is that our clubs many of whom are assisted by an ageing workforce may not also have sufficient resources to continue.
"People over the age of 70 could by the end of the week be subjected to a ‘lengthy stay at home policy’."
Subsequent to the league's announcement, the FA circulated a release outlining the suspension of all grassroots football.
The FA statement read: "Following the Government’s announcement today, for people to avoid social contact and gatherings where possible, we are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future.
"We have also decided to postpone all matches across all FA competitions, including those outside of the professional game, until 3 April.
"We are committed to trying to complete all competition fixtures and will be liaising with the relevant parties to establish appropriate options to do so.
"Throughout this period, we have taken Government advice with the priority being the health and wellbeing of all. We will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time.
"We are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review. Further updates will follow as needed."
The suspension comes with the top of Rugby's UCL Premier Division delicately balanced following Valley's 2-1 success at Sleaford last Saturday, when goals from Ryan Seal and Charlie Evans gave the visitors their fifth win on the trot.
Town edged up to third place in the table, three points shy of Shepshed in 2nd - with Quorn continuing to hold on to the top berth following their 2-0 home win over Desborough.
Quorn currently hold a four point advantage over their Leicestershire near-neighbours, although Dynamo's haul has come from five less matches played.
Rugby also have three games in-hand on the current divisional leaders, with Loughborough, Holbeach and possibly Deeping all still in with a chance of forcing their way into the promotion mix, when - or indeed if - the 2019/20 campaign recommences.