The latest lockdown could spell the end of the semi-professional football season

When brainstorming articles for this week I had written down an idea for a piece on whether a third national lockdown would bring an end to the semi-professional football season.

Lo and behold a few days later, we had the big announcement.

Boris must have hacked into my schedule.

After Christmas and the new variant we keep hearing about and the rise in cases, a third lockdown of some sorts was always inevitable.

The timing and how long we are told to expect it to be in place for could have all but put the final nail in the coffin for semi-professional football in England.

We have already seen the rise in the number of games being called off at professional level, and that is with measures, restrictions and in some cases, testing in place.

It still remains to be seen whether the EFL will make a decision or call a halt to the season if cases continue to rise.

The Premier League of course, with the riches that go with it, will avoid any sort of closure you would imagine.

People can say the safety of the players is paramount but at the top level, there will always be a financial element to decisions.

Anyway, the semi-professional game will do very well to get any sort of result now.

Many leagues at a part time level had not re-started again properly after the second lockdown at the end of 2020.

Those leagues have teams with player budgets who rely on gate receipts, sponsors and food sales to get by and compete.

For some, with players not on contract, it may be a bit of a blessing and may lead to the reset button being hit later in the year in time for next season.

It was a choice of not starting back then, now it is that they cannot start.

Further down, amateur level is probably the one level of football that can cope quite well with this latest lockdown.

Lower running costs and no player budget, a lockdown doesn’t massively impact them other than not being able to give boys and girls games of football.

So with the lockdown set to last until March, it is highly unlikely we will see a finish and it will be interesting to see how leagues are decided.

From an amateur football point of view there may be scope for some sort of competitive competition at the of the season.

If football is allowed at a part time and recreational level before May or June, small cups or something of that ilk could be implimented to give the season some purpose.

But on the whole it is disappointing to say we’ve probably seen the last of football this season at part time level and below.

The Welsh Premier League may have a chance of concluding in some format if the Government restrictions over there are lifted before the English ones.

In Wales, it is anyone’s guess. Mark Drakeford’s Government has been hard to predict when it comes to normal rules let alone sporting rules.

But you’d say that is unlikely. Below that, it would be a miracle if even half a season of fixtures could be completed now.

With everything going on, the rising death toll and rising cases it isn’t right that football is continuing at certain levels.

Some may argue football at any level isn’t right in the current situation, but that is another argument in itself.

But one thing that will come from our third, and hopefully final lockdown, is that people will never, ever take for granted going to watch football or any sport for that matter on a Saturday afternoon.

Picture – IF Image Cymru

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