Letter from Club Secretary – August 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope this email finds you and the family all well. It was not long ago that I thought we may not even have a club to return to but with your support and loyalty here we are, and I truly thank you for that.

I would like to give you with an update as to how things are progressing before I try and take some time off. I, and several members, have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure your child can return to football as quickly and safely as possible. It is important you read ALL the information on our website so you know what to expect and what will be expected from you. There is plenty to read but 3 key points to follow are:

  1. Parents are to register their child with their coach BEFORE any activity.
  2. Players MUST have a named water bottle and named hand sanitiser. THEY CANNOT PARTICIPATE IF THEY DO NOT HAVE THESE.
  3. Parents need to be aware that coaches will not attend to players who fall ill or incur injuries. They can only attend a player if an injury is life threatening.

Risk assessments have been presented to Richmond Council, protocols and procedures are in place as required by the Surrey Youth League and The FA. As we progress into next season we will continue to follow instructions from the government and our governing bodies.

Several training sessions were missed at the end of 2019-20 due to the Covid Lock down and so some expected expenses were not incurred. However, to help our coaches cope with the abrupt loss of some of their income, the Club decided to make some ex gratia payments to coaches in April to cushion the blow and so the training costs were not reduced pro rata as you might expect; but it does leave some money in the kitty.

The lack of activity at the end of the season and into the summer has created problems setting up the teams for the coming season, as we have not been able to trial new and existing players as we would have wanted for everyone, to place them in the most appropriate squads. The intention was to use money saved in 2019-20 to pay for extra sessions in August to give the players pre-season sessions in lieu of what was missed.

The competitive age groups have these sessions in place now. However it has proved too difficult to arrange August sessions for the Development age groups as too many people are away on holiday. The plan for these age groups now is to hold sessions during October half term in lieu of those missed. I know none of us know how things will be in mid October but, all being well, we plan on holding sessions during Monday 19th – Saturday 26th October 2021. This will give your child something to do during the half term, when usual options might not be available, and also give some further help to our coaches with some substitute work.

Gordon will email you to register for these sessions separately, once the season has started. These additional sessions will be free for players that fully paid their 2019-20 fees. Others will have to pay. If the sessions turn out not to be feasible, due to limited numbers, then they will not go ahead and instead we will need to decide what is done as an alternative.

A few people have asked what will happen if the Pandemic causes us to lose further training sessions. To clarify, all the money that you pay for training is retained in a Trust Account that is administered by the club and only used to organise and provide football for the children. We will consider how best any surplus is dealt with at the end of the season when the final position is clear. The club does not own this money, it is held in trust for the members and is not part of the club’s books.

It is essential that there are sufficient reserves to allow the club a good chance to carry on operating, even in unexpected circumstances, and with good planning we have been able to do that. Both the club and the trust account are healthy. We have been able to commit to some of our suppliers for the 2020-21 season before we had to ask members to commit to us by paying as early as is usually necessary. However we do need next season’s fees to be paid before we can go ahead with training and match day programmes. A few people have wishfully suggested that government help will be available to us. It is not, unless we have missed something? We do not have employees to furlough nor business rate relief to claim.

Training timetables are on the website. The competitive age groups start their official training programme the week commencing Monday 31st August and the development age groups will return to training on Saturday 5th September, subject to government guidelines.

Lastly I want to wish you all a peaceful and relaxing time for the remainder of the summer. Hopefully I will see everyone back in September.

Keep well.

Sarah Street
Club Secretary
Sheen Lions F.C.