SWPL Secretary - Regional mini-divisions could be used if season does not start on time

South West Peninsula League secretary Phil Hiscox. Picture: Contributed

South West Peninsula League secretary Phil Hiscox. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The South West Peninsula League (SWPL) secretary has said he has doubts about the league returning on September 5 and suggested regional mini-divisions could be used as a contingency plan.

Phil Hiscox has been the SWPL secretary for almost 30 years and described the lockdown as ‘bizarre’. He said: “The funny thing is I’ve actually been incredibly busy despite the fact we haven’t’ played a game of football since March.

“When we started in August last season, the winter caused havoc meaning clubs were facing a pile up towards the end of the campaign.

“Well if you can have that with an August start then you certainly have got to be worried about having a September start.”

The possibility of a delayed start or a truncated season remains a real possibility and Hiscox said a regional mini-league could be introduced.

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He said: “The contingency plan at the moment is if we go into October, you’d just about manage. Much later than that then there’s no point starting because you won’t finish.

“One suggestion is for regional mini-divisions such as splitting the division in half but then are you really the league champions? You’re only the champions of your section. You could have a playoff but then that becomes a cup final rather than a true league champion.”

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Last weekend saw the return of friendlies and with it, some crowds which has prompted the FA to extend a ruling which means non-competitive games must be played behind closed doors ruling to step 7 in the non-league system.

Hiscox said: “I think what happened at the weekend was two-fold, I think the FA guidance that they issued was a bit woolly. I think what happened on Saturday, some clubs pushed it beyond what was acceptable.

“The FA have said at steps 1-6, crowds must be allowed for competitive games and clubs wouldn’t be able to afford no fans. Referees are about £130 a game, kit washing, insurance, travel to the away games all that sort of stuff

“I wouldn’t disagree with the FA that if spectators aren’t allowed to return, it’s financially not viable so you would have to delay the start until they are.”

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