Kerry Underwood

PLAYING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WOULD KILL SEMI-PRO FOOTBALL

with one comment


By Kerry Underwood

Underwoods Solicitors deal with all aspects of football law and Kerry is of course vice-chair of Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club and can be contacted at Kerry.underwood@lawabroad.co.uk or 01442 430 900.

At 2pm this afternoon Thursday 11 June 2020, the National League South, that is the level that is two divisions off of the Football League meets by Zoom to discuss whether to have play-offs, following the decisions of Leagues 1 and 2 to end their seasons now, but to have play-offs and promotion and relegation.  

Also to be decided is whether the new National League South season should start behind closed doors.

Here are my thoughts as in the article by Jon Dunham in this week’s Hemel Hempstead Gazette.

TEXT OF ARTICLE

The vice-chairman of Hemel Hempstead Town believes any idea of playing National League South matches behind closed doors is “an absolute non-starter”.

In their latest update to their 68 clubs, the National League confirmed that August 8 remains the official start date for the 2020-21 season but that it will ‘inevitably need to be reviewed and updated’.

They also said  ‘it is assumed that it is not practical and sustainable to commence the new season if matches are to be played behind closed doors’.

And that assumption seems to fit in exactly with Tudors vice-chairman Kerry Underwood, who also feels some sort of clarification on a potential start date when fans will be allowed into grounds is needed.

“Playing games at our level behind closed doors is an absolute non-starter and would kill the semi-professional game, there’s no doubt about that,” Underwood said.

“We get no TV money obviously, our money is dependent on gate takings and people spending money in the bar and buying food and so on.”

“We know that Premier League clubs, as they soon will be, can survive without anyone walking into the ground.”

“But what on earth is the point of having non-televised football being played behind closed doors? It’s like painting a picture and then not displaying it.”

“It would mean football in the National League would have no more relevance than me having a kickabout in the local park.”

“And my guess is that is the view of all 68 clubs.”

“I am also vice-chairman of my local cricket club and the ECB have given clear guidance all along and they said some time ago that the professional season would not start before August 1.”

“Personally, I think there is zero chance of football in front of live crowds before August.”

“And I think the National League could say now that there will be no football before the first Saturday in September because I know clubs are worried as they are currently having to have their pitches and everything ready in line with August 8.”

“And a lot of contracts involve players getting paid a month before the season starts so they can train and everything like that.

“So, contractually, that is putting clubs in a position where they would need to pay out from the beginning of July.

“If it was said now that there will be no football until the first Saturday in September at the earliest, that would at least clarify it for the 68 National League clubs.”

Hemel are currently without a manager following the departure of Sammy Moore last month.

At the time, the club insisted there was ‘no hurry’ when it comes to appointing his successor.

And Underwood added: “That remains the position but, as you would expect, we have had a lot of interest from good candidates.

“And whenever the season starts, we are confident we will be ready with a good team in place.”

With thanks to Jon Dunham and the Hemel Hempstead Gazette

Written by kerryunderwood

June 11, 2020 at 10:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. There’s no reason why football shouldn’t be resumed as normal, subject to some advice / restrictions concerning older spectators. It’s now quite clear that for anyone under about 45 the virus carries no real threat at all. This covers all professional football players, so they should be able to resume normal life without any restrictions.

    The risk for older people is higher, but still statistically very low, and they should therefore be properly informed of the risk level but then left free to accept[pt whatever level of risk they are happy with.

    The Government have – like most other governments, and through no fault of their own – massively overestimated the danger of CV. That was understandable at the outset, when nobody knew anything about CV, but now it’s quite clear that the danger level is far lower than feared they must react appropriately, and release lockdown entirely, subject to the warnings to older people.

    Their refusal to recognise reality and lift the restrictions is utterly stupid, and they are now looking as though they would prefer to destroy the economy and millions of people’s lives rather than than lose face.

    Pro Bono

    June 11, 2020 at 11:31 am


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