West Cork Schoolboys League putting plan in place for 2020 season to begin

West Cork Schoolboys League putting plan in place for 2020 season to begin
Ardfield celebrate winning the 2019-20 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U16 Premier League title thanks to a thrilling 4-3 victory away to Bantry Bay Rovers in Kealkill.

A West Cork Schoolboys League statement has outlined a safe return to on-field action as well as structural changes to their proposed upcoming league formats.

Covid-19 halted the beginning of the WCSL season over three months ago. Unlike other schoolboys leagues, West Cork voted to retain a new March to November calendar season for the next three years at a recent AGM.

The pandemic ended the new 2020 campaign before it had a chance to get started. Yet, hopes are high of a return to action before the end of the year.

Newly-issued HSE and government guidelines for soccer’s safe return were welcomed by the FAI last week prior to documents and procedural steps being sent out by the governing body to every league in the country.

The WCSL Committee met last week before issuing a statement about their next steps. A period of consultation with all the region’s clubs has been taking place over the past seven days, discussing the WCSL’s initial strategy with regards the FAI protocols around returning to play.

All clubs received a draft guideline document to guide discussion on a safe return to whilst adhering to the HSE and government’s roadmap.

With that in mind, the WCSL sensibly spent time analysing their current league structures and decided they would look to adopt a different more streamlined format to what had been originally proposed for the planned March 2020 start.

This new format should see further regionalisation and the introduction of a (reduced) Champions League style competition instead of the traditional league setups.

Last Monday was the assigned date for a return to underage training. According to the WCSL statement: “As part of these protocols a comprehensive risk assessment will require completion by each club as well as the requirement for each club to have a designated Covid-19 officer to oversee all aspects of training.”

The next step for the WCSL Committee and its clubs is to meet over the coming days. With that in mind the league’s statement also stated:

“‘A 1:1 meeting will subsequently be arranged to allow each club the opportunity to ask any questions and raise any concerns raised by their members about the new competition format as well as the FAI protocols.”

No games of any description can take place until further notice but the signs are positive that there might be some SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League action before too long.

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