Stamford AFC's match with Spalding United will go-ahead as planned despite fears over the coronavirus situation
Stamford's BetVictor Northern Premier League South East Division derby duel with Spalding United on Saturday will go-ahead as planned despite fears about the coronavirus situation.
A league statement issued on Friday afternoon said that this weekend’s matches will be played as planned with future fixtures being reviewed on Monday.
The statement said: “Following the Premier League and EFL deciding to pause the season until April 9, the NPL has today (Friday) been in discussion with the National, Southern and Isthmian Leagues to try and agree a common approach, but this did not prove possible.
"The FA has stated that it is each league’s decision as to what approach it wishes to take, so each league at steps three and four will do what it believes best for its member clubs.
“Accordingly, and in common with the National League, the NPL’s board has decided that all matches will go ahead this weekend, with future fixtures being reviewed on Monday, March 16.
“Our primary concern, as always, is to protect the financial stability of our 62 clubs. This means playing as many games as we can, so long as clubs wish to do so
“This is not contrary to the league’s and clubs’ duty of care considerations to players, officials or supporters but, in a season where clubs have been severely impacted by weather-related postponements, the NPL board believes that pausing the season right now would prove disastrous for many clubs.
“The situation is changing daily, so our approach to Covid-19 must be flexible, recognising the very genuine concerns around the health of players, officials and supporters.
“The NPL has consistently urged clubs to follow government advice, which is that football matches should go ahead as planned for now.
“Having carefully weighed up all options, and mindful that we are between a rock and a hard place on this issue, all NPL matches will therefore go ahead as planned this weekend unless a club is directly affected by players, referees or volunteers who are self-isolating or have serious concerns.
“Clubs have been issued with further guidance and instruction.
“The NPL acknowledges this is not a decision that will meet with universal approval. Although our current stance may have to be reviewed as events escalate, it will be business as usual for as long as possible.”
Games in the United Counties League, Peterborough League, Peterborough Youth League and Peterborough Junior Alliance are set to go-ahead with many at the discretion of the clubs involved.
A statement from the United Counties League said: "We have spoken with an FA executive this morning (Friday).
"At this point there are no plans to cancel, postpone or to play games behind closed doors.
"Although the situation remains fluid and government guidance could change at any point, all games will go ahead as planned unless external forces dictate otherwise.
"The UCL will continue to liaise with the governing body to provide necessary leadership."
The Peterborough League said in their statement: "The advice from the FA at this current time is that grassroots fixtures do not need to be cancelled as a matter of course and that any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league as autonomous bodies within the game.
"However, the PDFL have agreed that in these extraordinary circumstances matches can be postponed by teams that do not wish to play due to concerns about the coronavirus or where players are self-isolating.
"The situation is rapidly changing and we are monitoring it closely and, if any further advice is issued from Public Health England or the FA, this will be communicated."
Northern Premier League
South East Division: Stamford v Spalding.
United Counties League
Premier Division: Oadby Town v Deeping Rangers.
Division One: Bourne Town v Harrowby United, Huntingdon v Blackstones.
Premier Division: Ketton v Tydd, Moulton Harrox v Uppingham, Oakham v Long Sutton, Peterborough Polonia v Stamford Lions.
Division One: Crowland v Stamford Bels, King's Cliffe v Stilton, Wittering v Cardea.
Division Two: Stamford Bels Res v Warboys, Stamford Lions Res v Rippingale & Folkingham.
Division Three: Glinton & Northborough v Premiair Res, Ramsey v Uppingham Res, Whittlesey A v Wittering Res.
Division Four: Casterton v Huntingdon Rovers, Thurlby Tigers v King's Cliffe Res.
Division Five B: Sutton Bridge v Stamford Lions A.
More by this authorJames Bedford