Following extensive discussions, the Board has made the decision that no further league fixtures should be played as part of the 2019/2020 season, therefore drawing the 2019/2020 season to a close.
The Coronavirus Joint Response Group’s update, issued on the 9th April, advised that the suspension of all football in Scotland had been extended until at least the 10th June 2020. Should football activities recommence on this date, this leaves less than three weeks of the standard season remaining. There is no feasible way of squeezing training and fixtures into this small window. We must also remember that this date signifies a best case scenario, and there is still a strong possibility that it may get pushed further back.
The Board also considered extending the 2019/20 season beyond the summer, however this doesn’t appear to be practicable. Not only would it raise issues with registrations and insurance, it would also result in problematic scheduling matters from a league perspective, in trying to hurry through one season (with a recommencement date still unknown), only to immediately restart the next. There is also the substantial likelihood that players may face an unnecessary overload of games at the beginning of the new season which would go against child wellbeing and player development best practice.
Football under the SYFA’s jurisdiction is age-specific, and each age level brings changes and challenges in terms of both development and match duration. We all must accept that the 2019/2020 season has been unexpectedly and irrefutably disrupted due to the current circumstances, however, by ending fixtures now, we stand the best chance of restarting the 2020/2021 with as little delay or disruption as possible.
It is at each league’s discretion how they choose to calculate final placings, and we would expect teams to give their full support and patience as their league works through this.
Referring back to the matter of the 2020/2021 season, I am pleased to inform you that league, club and team registrations will open in early May. We are finalising matters with the IT department and hope to announce the specific date on which the window will open in the coming days.
We would stress that members should only register if the relevant club and / or team secretary is already in a position to execute the task from home. Under no circumstances should officials be meeting up in order to prepare for their membership application. Teams unable to register at this stage will not be disadvantaged however those that are able to register will be assisting their fellow members in doing so.
Opening early helps to prevent an unmanageable number of applications being submitted within a very short space of time, which would likely be the case if we held-off opening registrations until an official restart date had been confirmed. This could lead to further delay and, ultimately prevent teams getting back to games at the earliest possible opportunity. It also allows leagues and clubs who are in a position to do so, to complete the administrative side of things well in advance, ensuring football itself can be their key priority down the line.
Full details of the registration process, including player registrations, will be confirmed once finalised with both the IT and Registrations departments at the Scottish FA.
Rule 84 of the Supplementary and Playing Rules allows for special permission to be granted to complete unfinished cup ties:
Exceptionally, in the case of unfinished Cup Competitions, special permission may be granted by the SYFA for delayed Cup ties to be played on or after 1 August in the following season. Only players who were eligible to play for the teams involved in a delayed Cup tie at 15 June in the preceding season may play in such Cup tie for which special permission has been granted.
Whether or not it is possible to complete cup ties will depend entirely on when football activities can resume. If it is possible to complete cup competitions by Sunday 6th September then we will grant approval to complete competitions, giving priority to the inspiresport Scottish Youth FA Cup, followed by regional competitions and then league cup competitions.
There is a strong possibility that even if we can resume activities in June, league cup competitions will not be completed due to time and facility restrictions. Again we expect teams to fully support their league in whatever decision is reached.
If football has not resumed before August, 2019/2020 cup competitions, including the inspiresport SYFA cup, will not be completed.
Extensive work has also been carried out in relation to the AGM which is due to take place in June. We have still to receive further clarification from our legal advisors regarding the meeting itself, and will provide you all with a further update on this in due course.
Rule 11 of the Supplementary and Playing rules outlines the process for members to submit resolutions for the AGM:
Notice from a member of any proposed addition or alteration to the Supplementary & Playing Rules to be put forward for consideration at the Annual General Meeting must be sent by Recorded Signed for or Special Delivery by the proposer and seconder in separate letters, signed by the respective secretary of the member club, league or association proposing and seconding, to the SYFA c/o National Secretary, before the 30th day of April in the then current year. Notice from a member of any other Resolution to be brought before an Annual General Meeting must be sent in like manner before the 30th day of April in the then current year.
Given the current situation, the Board has temporarily amended this rule. As we do not currently have access to our Hampden office, resolutions must be submitted via email to the National Secretary. The following process must be followed:
1. Resolutions must be attached to emails in the form of a letter, and sent to Florence.Witherow@scottish-football.com by 30th April 2020.
2. Emails from both the proposer and seconder must be sent from the registered email address of the league or club secretary.
3. Resolutions must be signed (either via verified electronic signature or scanned copy of signed letter)
4. Hard copies of letters must be retained by the sender for retrospective verification.
5. National Secretary will confirm receipt of resolution.
We would ask that any members who have submitted resolutions via postal delivery on or after 19th March 2020 resubmit these using the process above.
We also want to take this opportunity to raise the matter of summer football. Some of you will be aware of the petition regarding switching our 11 a side age groups from a winter season to a summer season. In addition to this petition we have also received three emails from club officials supporting this change.
Such a change would require extensive consultation and planning, and would be a huge undertaking for ourselves and our league volunteers. Our current structure, resources and IT provision are all currently set up for the dual- season system and implanting such a change at a national level is clearly a broad and complex undertaking. However, we have a duty to listen to our members and respond appropriately and responsibly to such suggestions and as such will be conducting an extensive consultation project, initially with our member leagues, in order to discuss the practicalities of this suggestion.
We sincerely hope that you are all well in these unprecedented times, and thank you for your ongoing efforts and commitment.
(On behalf of the Scottish Youth FA Board)