Haden hoping for football soon
Haden hoping for football soon

Football is back – well at the highest level anyway! KSN has been talking with the CEO of the Kent FA, Darryl Haden about the desire of a lot of people to see the beautiful game return in our county and whenever the “new” season may begin…

Darryl told us, “The return of the Premier League will help us I think as people want their football fix and I know that I like other people have been watching the re-runs of Euro 96 and the other games that have been shown, we all want our football fix and we all want to see football.”

“I understand why the Premier League are back – I think that there are financial reasons for that, and they can also do the testing of the players. But we can’t really do that down to our level!”

“We’re starting to see some “green shoots” with the Government easing on Lockdown has allowed training to start back in a more conditioned way with social distancing in place and no more than six members working in a group together which means a coach and five players.”

“So, we’re seeing those green shoots coming through and we’re hopeful that we’ll see further relaxations of Lockdown and social distancing measures in the coming weeks which will enable football, especially grass roots, to have a little bit more freedom as it were to get back training and then we’ll see an increase of numbers of people being able to train still socially distancing of course.”

“We’re hopeful that things will move on and maybe the Premier League’s return will get people’s desire back to playing football, and ultimately something that we’ve spent a lot of time working on how we can benefit our clubs and how we can support our clubs through this difficult time.”

“One thing we’ve done is to grant free affiliation for our clubs as well as covering the public liability and the County Cup entry. In addition, with support from the Kent FA Foundation we have been able to provide a first aid kit for every team that affiliates to the Kent FA.”

“We’re mindful that for clubs it’s a difficult time – especially grassroots clubs – it’s really, really difficult; it’s challenging financially for them but hopefully the measures that we’ve put in place will encourage some of those clubs who may have been thinking that they can’t really go on for another year, those who have been impacted by the COVID pandemic, hopefully it will encourage them to carry on playing and by seeing the Premier League return it will rekindle that football bug and motivate them to carry on playing next season when we do get back up and running.”

“We’re dictated by science as to when our new season may begin as we talk today and by what the Government say. I think that early September will be a tough ask but if we’re looking at SCEFL and those Leagues then possibly, maybe early September but Grassroots maybe a little bit later?”

“It’s hard to say – I’m no expert in the science – we’ll be dictated to by Government and the suitably what the FA say.”

“I think that, in terms of going back to Grassroots, and whilst we are in the close season, this is a really, really big time for those clubs as many of them will run their own tournaments; that’s where those clubs would generate a lot of their income enabling them to function for the following season – to buy their kits and equipment from the income they’d receive – and they’ve obviously been impacted as they haven’t been able to run them!”

“We need to be mindful that some of these clubs are losing a massive amount of their income by not being able to run their festivals. And I guess that we also need to be mindful that at the season start, do we delay it still further to allow these guys to have an opportunity to at least possibly to run some of these competitions.”

“That’s something that we need to discuss – no decision has been made as yet – it’s something that we need to be mindful of because that will have a big impact on youth clubs especially but also grassroot clubs across the game.”

“Patience is still very much the watch word still – we see it in the guys that are now going back training; clubs are getting their adult teams and their youth teams back training and we’re telling them that we understand that (especially for the junior teams) they want to get back and play their football, but sometimes if you can’t get that social distancing and you’re not comfortable as a club that you can deliver those sessions then don’t do it!”

“Don’t put yourself at risk and don’t put other people at risk and be patient because if we are patient and we can get through this quicker.”

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get football back quicker and sooner and that’s something that we all want – football back; we want to be playing it, refereeing in it, we all want to be watching it and the sooner we can get back to that stage the better. And that may need people to be patient and also needs people to be sensible in their approach to the easing of Lockdown.”