Cautious optimism for new Devon football tournament

Action from the Ottery St Mary pre-season meeting with Axminster Town. Picture: SARAH MCCABE

Action from the Ottery St Mary pre-season meeting with Axminster Town. Picture: SARAH MCCABE - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary have welcomed a new mini tournament from the Devon Football League with cautious optimism. 
The Otters have been paired in a group with Topsham, Clyst Valley and the University of Exeter, with each side playing one another home and away from April 10, and the group winners, plus best runners-up from the five groups progressing to a quarter-final. 
While the concept is an exciting way to bring a competitive conclusion to the season, Ottery chairman Mikey Ringer needs questions resolved on costs and tournament rules. 
“It is an exciting idea and something we discussed around Christmas as being worth pursuing if the league season was curtailed,” said Ringer. 
“The main problem for clubs has been zero income because, without the revenue at our level of the game, it is very difficult to keep going. Staging football games obviously costs money. 
“There are a load of different scenarios that need clarifying before we can safely and legally invite people back into the ground for a game. 
“As a football concept, we are fully behind the competition but points have been raised around player eligibility. 
“Steps four, five and six have all been voided, which means a lot of players from a higher level of the game are still without football. 
“We already know that there are mercenary clubs out there recruiting players from higher up the pyramid, which would make a mockery of the competition. 
“Clubs should show loyalty to those players that have stuck with them all through the turbulence of this season. 
“Rules need to be in place to prevent an influx of new players. It is down to the value of coaches, who work hard to develop players and promote through the youth system. The league needs to set down rules that ensures a fair and exciting competition.” 
On the subject of revenue, Ottery have joined forces with North Petherton-based ASGUK Ltd, who will run the club’s commercial affairs. If any local business or individual is looking to become a club partner, please contact Paul on 07940 531712 or email commercial@otterystmaryafc.co.uk

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