• Sport

NEFL considering 2020 season abandonment amid Level 5 lockdown

Soccer Nets
A goal net at the Boys School Field in Ardee, former home of Square United. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.

The North East Football League say that the 2020 season may have been to be abandoned before a proposed start to the new 2021 campaign next March.

In light of the government’s decision to move to Level 5 Covid-19 preventative measures as of midnight, the league has confirmed that no NEFL fixtures will take place for the remainder of 2020.

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The league say that the NEFL committee will decide when restrictions are lifted as to if and when the current 2020 season will conclude. That would be in January 2021 at the earliest.

It remains a live possibility that the competitions will be abandoned ahead of the new season, scheduled to get underway in March. All NEFL fixtures were postponed on October 6, after the government imposed Level 3 restrictions nationwide.

The Level 5 restrictions also mean that team training can no longer take place, until December at the earliest. Previously, pods of up to a maximum of 15 persons were permitted to take part in non-contact training.

‘Please stay safe everyone together we will beat this virus,’ NEFL Fixtures Secretary Declan Jordan said in a statement.

After the country’s first lockdown earlier in the year, the North East Football League resumed in early August with the season comprising solely of cup competitions. The truncated 2020 edition also saw the launch of the new ’40 Year Commemorative Cup’, a once-off competition to mark four decades of the league’s existence.

With no league football played in 2020, the final positions at the end of the 2019 league campaign are still to be carried forward to the new 2021 season, which is due to begin in March next year.

The shortened, cup-centric season was due to run until the end of November. Muirhevnamor FC, Square United and Kentstown Rovers were the competition’s form teams up until the suspension of activity – with all three sides unbeaten in their six games in Group’s A, B and C.

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