the League could cancel all competitions for several more weeks

There is the bad weather which makes the land impractical but also and above all the Covid which decimates the workforce and discourages. For the third consecutive winter, the practice of amateur football is getting more complicated. The championships stopped for two weekends may not resume before the end of the February holidays.

« We shouldn’t be surprised, we knew that after the Christmas holidays we would be in trouble. Now we are there and we have to make the right decisions for our sport, the health of our players and the good practice of football. « , sings Christophe Jouin, a football enthusiast and president of the small Regional 2 club in La Manche, the Agneaux Football Club.

Since the start of the school year in January, the reinforced health protocol has complicated training: no changing room, compulsory mask outside the grounds, etc.

Constraints rather well accepted by parents and young people from the football school. “It is rather the habit of children to come fully dressed and get back in the car at the end of training and since the start of the Covid it has even entered into the operation of young people”, explains Christophe Jouin.

« With seniors, it’s more difficult. No hot showers when you leave, getting back in your wet and cold car, leaving without having a drink with friends: it’s not in the DNA of our sport. A lot don’t want to be there in these conditions and tell us that they prefer to stop for a few weeks, until things calm down. »

However, teams cannot run normally without their numbers. To continue under these conditions would not be fair and exposes you to a lot of criticism at the end of the season: the dice are truncated.

Two weeks ago I had 24 seniors in training on Friday evening and 6 positive cases on Monday in the workforce. My players, they work and have children, so they would rather not come than contract Covid here. Afterwards it is their work which sometimes depends on it or their bosses who ask them to choose. They are not pros and their life does not stop at football.

Christophe Jouin, President of Agneaux FC

While the temperatures have dropped, changing out of the locker room, at night, etc., is demotivating for the players. « Don’t believe it, it’s also difficult for the coach who has nothing to do with his game sheet. Competitions have to be suspended until things calm down. »

The amateur world works thanks to its volunteers. Many of them have already left among the retirees, it should not be necessary for the future of the clubs that the sportsmen themselves slam the door definitively. The balance is fragile, it is necessary to facilitate the life of the clubs. « I have 25 or 30 year old players who tell me, I have booked my ski week in three weeks, if I get the Covid here I won’t be able to go. So they sit on the sidelines while waiting for the holidays. What means do I have to keep them? None. It’s the amateur and voluntary world here. The authorities have to understand that. »

Club Presidents (the vast majority) do not want to resume competition next week. Indeed, rather for climatic reasons and waterlogged grounds, the League has already decided to suspend the regional championships these first two weekends of January but should we go further and not resume before mid-February? and the end of the winter holidays? Many say this is the right decision to make. “We have to manage this period calmly without the pressure of competitions for educators. There are still weekends available at the end of winter and in spring to recover these days”, adds Thierry Deslandes, President of La Mos (Maladrerie OS Caen), Regional 1 club and its 700 licensees.

It’s like in schools, very complicated to manage positive cases and contact cases. This period is transitional and fleeting, I am one of those who wish to take a break from competitions in January. Small-time management wears everyone out.

Thierry Deslandes, La Mos Caen

Nothing has been officially decided yet but the cell phone of the President of the League of Normandy does not stop ringing. “We must not go and say that football has relaunched the Covid. The ministry is asking the French Football Federation to continue the championships. We have to play but we have to take into account the reality in the clubs.

We stopped the regional championships this weekend but we maintained the N3. I have just learned that Cherbourg will not be able to play with 5 cases of Covid in the team. Indeed, on Monday, we will have to count the cases and make coherent decisions.

Pierre Leresteux, President of the Normandy League

The authorities of the League will therefore meet this Monday, January 17 in the morning to decide on the way forward collectively. In the national youth championships, Stade Malherbe has too many cases of Covid to play in its U19 team, not in the U17s. And sometimes it is the adversary who withdraws.

In short, at all levels, in Normandy, the virus is circulating a little too much so as not to further disrupt sports practice. A complicated third winter begins. And the Normandy Cup? If it is not stopped, it could also take another form, such as a mini tournament in the spring (and not several weeks of competition). On your calendars, the dates of the competitions will probably change and you will have to deal with the holidays and the end-of-year tournaments in the clubs.

« If we make good decisions in football (and we have to be exemplary), other sports will follow because the problem is not just at home », sighs a president decided not to resume immediately.

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