Where are we at?
There is hope, real hope, with the vaccination programme which is currently underway, that this horrible pandemic is gradually coming to an end and our lives will all be able to return to normal. However, let’s not forget the tragic toll that COVID-19 has taken so far. Many within the YEL Community will have been touched by COVID and I’m sure it goes without saying that all of our thoughts are with each and every one of them for their loss.
COVID has not just taken people’s lives; It has destroyed jobs and people’s livelihoods; It has caused our freedom to be restricted; it has stopped our socialising with friends and relatives; it has removed our opportunity to play sport; It has caused many football clubs to stop collecting fees sucking the lifeblood from them and threatening their very existence.
Highly professional, paid staff makes a difference
As a league we have tried to pick our way through the stop/start of playing then not playing; in and out of lockdown, tier systems etc. To say the least, trying to second guess the virus and the next move by the government has been challenging! Having said that, the YEL team always have a Plan A, B & C to ensure that whatever new challenges are thrown at us by new announcements, we have been ready to respond to and give children football opportunities again as quickly as possible when the government/science dictates it is safe to do so.
Having full and part-time staff has made a massive difference to what is and isn’t possible. This is the trade off between the YEL model of facilitating football on a professional, paid basis and virtually every other league which is run part time by volunteers. We are able to concentrate solely on what we are paid to do, and, wherever possible, deliver close, competitive football on a weekly basis to over 1170 teams and 15,000 players.
We are very proud that with everything being equal, we will be able to complete the Winter season fixtures and deliver a Spring season, albeit slightly truncated. This, at a time, when other leagues are still scratching their heads trying to work out what to do. Kev Cooper needs a special mention here. He has worked tirelessly since the return to football announcement on Monday 22nd February by the Prime Minister. In just five days he has set and uploaded all of the fixtures to complete the Winter season and for the whole of the Spring season – 3284 fixtures! We genuinely believe we will be one of the very few leagues in the country to have completed any sort of season let alone two seasons! Sadly, the cup competitions, for this season, have had to become casualties as there simply would not be enough time to complete them and they would be too disruptive to the already tight league fixture programmes.
The future – season 2021-22
As mentioned at the start, we all hope that this unprecedented event is drawing to a close and that football will be back as we all know and love for season 2021-22. The YEL Board have met and have had long discussions about this year, the way forward and what we could do to help smooth this pathway into the 2021-22 season for our members. Various things had to be considered and put into the melting pot to come to a final decision.
Some of the considerations were:
- We will have completed a version of two seasons by the end of May
- Numbers of games overall have been reduced as the Cup Competitions and a number of friendlies have not taken place
- We have full and part-time paid staff who are a cost but deliver a top quality product
- The league has reserves which have been set aside for a ‘rainy day’ – Is there anything more ‘rainy’ than a pandemic?
- The board has a responsibility to act in the best interest of the members whilst not affecting the financial stability of the league
Having taken into account all of the above, the YEL Board have made the following decision
An across the board
Reduction of £30
will be made to all team entry fees
for the 2021-22 season
U7s/U8s – £69 – £30 reduction £39
U9s/U10s – £79 – £30 reduction £49
U11s/U12s – £89 – £30 reduction £59
U13s/U14s – £99 – £30 reduction £69
We really hope this gesture will go some way to smoothing the pathway for all of member clubs in the YEL Community and assist them in returning to football for the new 2021-22 season
Rob Harwood CEO