Newhaven Football Club have today received notice from the Southern Combination Football League (SCFL) that all football will be suspended from Wednesday 23rd December 2020.

The decision was made due to a number of clubs in the league being based in areas which have been upgraded to the newly formed Tier 4 restrictions.

The suspension is currently expected to last until Saturday 9th January 2021, which means scheduled fixtures against Peacehaven & Telscombe (A, 26th December), Langney Wanderers (H, 29th December) and Eastbourne United (A, 2nd January) have all been postponed.

Although it falls outside of the league’s suspension, tonight’s (22nd December) league fixture against Lancing at Culver Road has also been postponed due to safety concerns raised by both clubs.

The full statement released by the league reads as follows:

“Last night the SCFL Senior committee met to discuss the latest directive from the UK government on C-19 restrictions.

“At this meeting we discussed in detail the implications in continuing to play given the current situation and the potential issues going forward along with the different scenarios.

“Whilst the majority of East & West Sussex are still in Tier 2 we have several clubs who are in the Hastings & Rother areas who are now in Tier 4 along with several clubs who play in Surrey who are also in Tier 4.

“Then we have clubs who are in Tier 2 but border on to the boundary of Tier 4 these clubs have around 50% of their first team players from these areas, we also have some clubs that are more central to Sussex who also have a small percentage who travel from Tier 4 areas then we have the other teams in the middle of this who are currently not affected by tier or player travel.

“The league secretary and I spoke to several club chairman & secretaries over the weekend to get a view of their concerns and comments and their views on playing or not playing.

“At last night’s meeting we discussed if it were viable to continue playing where clubs still wanted to continue as they were only in Tier 2 & felt it was safe to do so but in the end, it was felt that this would cause to much disruption to re-arrange fixtures also it may give an imbalance and unfair advantage later down the road once we started playing again.

“We also took into consideration the club volunteers who are in the main of a mature age who are also susceptible in becoming ill.

“With the government announcing a new strain of the C-19 and that it is 70% more virulent than the current strain and that nobody is aware if or how this strain can be transmitted from person to person quicker when being involved in any sports.

“I also had a phone discussion with the FA prior to our meeting last night where I had the opportunity to discuss this matter in detail and I will be back in touch with them this morning as to the outcome of our decision.

“In the end and on balance it was regretfully felt that as from Wednesday 23 December the officers would suspend the playing season of 1st teams, U23 & U18.

“There is scheduled a further announcement from the UK government on 30 December and should this be favourable then fixtures would re-start on the 9 January but looking at this morning news this may be doubtful, but nevertheless we will continue to review this on a daily basis and on a as and when anything of significance happens, we will let you know.

“The SCFL management committee have scheduled to meet again on New Year’s Eve to discuss any announcements on the 30th and we will then advise clubs accordingly.

“I appreciate that there will be clubs who felt that they could continue safely, and they will be disappointed especially as we have clubs who are again looking for promotion and the ones near the bottom might be smiling but when we restart then hopefully, we can get to a point where these matters will still happen.

“We fully understand these club’s disappointment but the decision to suspend was not taken lightly and it was not based on the playing of matches alone, we had to look at the bigger picture.

“In closing yet again life in general is yet again facing a big challenge which is having a massive impact on families, businesses, and health and when this will end, and some normality returns who knows.”

On behalf of Newhaven Football Club we would like to wish all our volunteers, management, coaches, players and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Stay safe and we look forward to seeing everyone as soon as possible in 2021.

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