The Devon and Exeter League, in which two Lyme Regis FC team compete, have agreed to relaunch the 2020-21 season – but teams do not have to participate if they don’t want to.
That was the surprise news received by teams last evening when it was expected the D & E would follow the decision by the South West Peninsular League to void the current season because of the back log of fixtures.
The news was released in an email to all club from league secretary Neil Anthony. The statement said: “Restarting this season from Monday, March 29, with the aim of finishing the season by the end of May.
“Every team within the league has a choice as to whether they continue or not. There will be NO FINE for teams withdrawing at this stage.
“There will be no promotion or relegation at the end of season, only movement due to withdrawals etc. (depending on the outcome as to whether we revert back to non-regional divisions). “This decision must be achieved so that a Constitution can be compiled for the AGM.
“Teams that request to continue and fail to fulfill a fixture, will be fined £20 and have a point deducted. If they fall foul on three occasions, they will be deemed unable to finish the season and be withdrawn from their division with immediate effect.
“If both teams fail to fulfill a fixture other than COVID or weather issues, both will be fined £20 and deducted a point.
“Each team must field at least SEVEN players that were registered with their club before December 31. “Change THREE substitutes to FIVE and also allow ROLLING SUBSTITUTES.
“Teams withdrawing will have all their results expunged from League Tables.
“Withdrawing team players will still be registered to their clubs until the end of the season, but players will be allowed to transfer up to the April 14, these transfers will not need permission from their registered club, other transfers will need to be as per SCOR.
“The above conditions will have to be sanctioned by the Devon County FA and The FA if necessary.
“Our referees have been contacted re their availability and only a few not wishing to continue. SPECTATORS ALLOWED BY END OF MAY.
“If the season is finished, the winners of each division will be presented with a plaque from the DEFL and our sponsors award (no individual medals). The only play-off necessary would be the premier divisions. Hopefully by the end of May spectators will be allowed.”
Lyme Regis 1st team competes in the D & E Premier East Division and have another 17 games to play to complete their fixtures. The number of games not played has been reduced by two because of University having to withdraw. Lyme Regis Reserves play in Division One East and have 18 games to play. This does not effect Lyme Rovers as they play in the Perry Street League where no decision has been confirmed.
The Dorset League has suspended all league matches but will continue to fulfil the cup competitions which coud also impact on Lyme as the first team still in the Dorset Senior Trophy.
Club chairman Howard Larcombe said the matter would go before the committee who would be guided by the managers and with the feelings of the players taken into account.
No decision has been made by the Perry Street League yet but it is believed the majority of the clubs think the season should be halted. The league management committee will be making a decision on Monday and then it would have to be ratified by an EGM.
Although games could start again on March 29, social facilities at the Davey Fort clubhouse could not fully resume until the pubs reopen.