An update on all things football.
Over the past few weeks we’ve received some information from the FA on the plans to start the 2020/21 seasons for our first teams. Whilst we think it’s a good time to share that information with you now, everything is still subject to change based on legislation, necessary ground work and of course the general pandemic situation itself. But for now, here’s what we know.
Women’s First Team
The scheduled start date for the Women’s Championship is the weekend of the 5th/6th September. The Championship will once again be an 11 team league with the only change in formation from last season being Liverpool, relegated from the WSL replacing Aston Villa who were crowned champions.
It is hoped that the Rooks will not be scheduled to play at home in the first two weeks due to the completion of the ground works (see below). At this stage we have no indication whether the league will commence it front of fans.
Men’s First Team
The FA have indicated that all Steps 3 and 4 leagues will commence on Saturday 19th September and subject to individual club criteria being met, in front of fans. It is likely that fixtures will be a re-run of last season, in which case we will open the campaign at home to Enfield Town. One change would be that our August Bank Holiday fixture from last season, at home to Horsham, would be moved to May Bank Holiday as the season will end on Saturday 15th May 2021. Please note that the fixtures are yet to be finalised.
The FA Cup will commence on the 1st September and we will enter at the First Qualifying Round stage currently pencilled in for week commencing 21st September. We do not know at this stage whether ties will be settled on the day (I.e no replays). We do not know yet details of the FA Trophy or Sussex Senior Cup.
Pre-season for both the Men’s and Women’s teams will happen behind closed doors – unfortunately we will not be allowed to accommodate any spectators due to the COVID-19 restrictions. It is possible that there will be pre-season games in September where fans may attend but we will confirm that in due course.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the crowd funder and the subsequent ground tidy up at The Pan. Our stadium is over 125 years old and needs that love and attention and such efforts go a long way to making The Pan one of the most loved venues in Non-League Football. The work on replacing the floodlights and the Rook Inn renovations will happen in late August and stretch into the early part of September. In addition, we expect some work will be necessary to make the ground compliant for whatever rules are put in place by the DCMA and the Football Association for the return of fans to football.
We do expect that our capacity will be limited for the foreseeable future to comply with social distancing. To what extent that will be we do not yet know but all grounds in the United Kingdom will have to adhere to strict upper limits in attendees.
It may be that games will have to be all-ticket to ensure that we can control the number of fans coming into the ground safely. We would encourage regular fans to avail themselves of the season ticket option which would guarantee entry into all games where fans are allowed in. Details of our season tickets will be published as soon as we have confirmed details on the restrictions on capacity.
After five months without football I am sure like us, you cannot wait to getting back to see action at the Pan. Rest assured that a huge amount of work is happening behind the scenes to make that a safe and secure environment for us all.
Come On You Rooks!