Statement- League restart

The Seasiders have released the following statement regarding the potential restart of football

With Suffolk in Tier 2, and the subsequent additional restrictions placed upon clubs whereby clubhouses must remain closed and restrictions on food & drinks purchased within the stadium, the Committee met last evening (Monday) to discuss the implications ahead of a meeting between Clubs and all Step 3/4 Leagues tonight (Tuesday) where a vote will be taken on the restart of the league, with the results revealed on Thursday.

* Updated* Following consultation with our local Environmental Health team we have been granted permission for our food kiosk to be open on match days, on the understanding that supporters will then have to sit down to consume the food and drinks, either in the grandstands or the pitchside patio area. The bar and clubhouse itself will remain fully closed (apart from access to the toilets) with no alcohol sales permitted, in accordance with Tier 2 rules.

Although the club will be severely affected by the loss of secondary income on a matchday from bar sales, the consequences of not restarting football are considered to be even more severe.

The Club are committed to completing as much of the season as possible and therefore will be voting for the league to restart as planned. The Seasiders are very fortunate to have a large fanbase, including 250 season ticket holders, and over 100 sponsors, all of whom committed their support prior to the start of the season. The financial implications of refunding season ticket holders and sponsors are enormous.

As a club we feel the role our football club plays in the Community outweigh any financial considerations. We are confident the stringent measures in place throughout the ground make the venue a safe place to enjoy the game, bringing with it the mental, physical and social benefits that result.

We are a football club who exist to play football, at all levels from Juniors to First Team. As long as supporters are allowed into the ground we can continue to survive the coming weeks and months until restrictions are eased and eventually lifted.

We will need the continued support of everyone involved with the club to navigate through increasingly difficult times, but our experience tells us that our fantastic community of supporters, players, management, parents, officials and sponsors will come together once again to ensure this happens.

We also recognise that every clubs circumstances vary, as will the layout of their ground. Others may not be in a position to seat sufficient spectators to consume refreshments, and therefore may consider the loss of income to be at a level that makes hosting matches unviable. Likewise, clubs in Tier 3 areas who will also vote this evening will not wish to play behind closed doors, with supporters not allowed to attend matches in the highest tier. For these reasons, we have written to the League suggesting two alternative solutions.

1. Each division to make their own decision. It is difficult to get a consensus across all Step 3/4 leagues when whole divisions are in different tiers. One size cannot fit all in this case. You could have all 20 Isthmian North clubs wanting to play with Tier 2 restrictions, but outvoted by clubs in northern leagues who, quite understandably, don't wish to play behind closed doors.

2. Each club to make a decision based on their own circumstances. For instance, one club in Tier 2 may feel they are so reliant on bar sales, or vulnerable volunteers, that they would prefer to not play until restrictions are eased. Whereas another club may be ground sharing or have a 3rd party caterer and are therefore less affected by restrictions, or be in a fortunate position of having additional revenue streams still coming in to enable matches to continue. A flexible approach would allow clubs to continue if they consider themselves able to, but others not forced to play if they don't feel it is viable for them.

A further update will be issued following the League meeting and vote.

Chris Daynes- Joint Chairman, on behalf of the Club Committee