Quick return for GFC unrealistic

HOPES of the Green Lions returning to competitive action this season are fast diminishing.

Sorry day in more ways than one: Guernsey FC's 6-0 home defeat by Ashford United on 22 February 2020 was not only a hammering but the Green Lions' last league action. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29960889)
Sorry day in more ways than one: Guernsey FC's 6-0 home defeat by Ashford United on 22 February 2020 was not only a hammering but the Green Lions' last league action. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29960889)

Mark Le Tissier, the GFC chairman, painted a negative picture as to whether his club would return to action next month and told the GP Football Podcast unless the domestic border situation alters markedly, it is unrealistic to expect the club to resume this season.

‘Our league has kindly let us cancel all our games for September and until the rules change as to who can come into the island and what vaccinations they need to have, we are not going to be able to play any games at all.

‘The next thing that will happen is that probably in the next 10 days if nothing has changed with regard to un-vaccinated players coming into the island, then we will have to request for our October fixtures to be also cancelled.

‘The indications are that they may allow us to do that, but after October that would be it.’

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But that agreement in itself may not be a game-changer, as Le Tissier explained, and it is not only a question of the vaccination status of opposition players.

‘The league won’t make them [the opposition] come with just double-vaccinated players.

‘For teams to come here, they will need to bring un-vaccinated people into the island and then go back out on the same day.

‘A lot of the players who play at our level have not been vaccinated and the [CCA] rules would have to change to allow un-vaccinated players to come in.

‘We are all probably realistic to know that is not going to happen for some time, though you never know. Things are changing slowly and we can only hope at this stage.’

As for the GFC team travelling away, that is also fraught with concerns and potential kick-backs.

‘The difficulty for us going to play away is that of course for our players, even if they have all been double-vaccinated, is if they were to come back and test positive it is uncertain whether all the squad would have to isolate.

‘If that happened once and they have to isolate and we have a game in midweek or the following week, we won’t have a team.

‘That is a real difficulty and then there is the situation around the players employment.’

Le Tissier said that a November start would put GFC in the unenviable situation of playing Saturday and midweek for the rest of the season.

‘It is do-able, but whether we would be competitive, that is another matter.

‘Normally we would start our season nine games behind most clubs, because that is how many pre-season games they would have played. We don’t have a pre-season really.

‘So if you take that into account our opponents will have played 10 or 12 [league] games by the end of October and you can see how far behind we are likely to be.’

And it is not only about player availability.

‘Midweek games for us are, financially, a burden, because of the overnight stays we have to pay for.

‘It will be tough.’

Le Tissier warns that the threat of another full season without action had led them to a review of their position.

The club would continue but there may have to be changes.

‘The desire is still there.

‘The coaches reporting back to us and say there is still the willingness of the players and the numbers they have been getting for training bears that out. There is still that desire to play at that level.

‘I don’t think it will be the end of the club, but we may have to carry on in a different way.

‘We may have to do things very differently and while we don’t know what it would look like at this time we are looking at all sorts of options and scenarios at what could happen. But we haven’t completed that work yet.

‘Eighteen months is a long time [without competitive football], two and a half years is massive amount of time. After that, who knows?’

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