During these unprecedented and troubling times, I would like to take some time to assure you that, here at West Riding FA, we are doing our best to look after the health and well being of everyone connected to our organisation.
As you will have seen, The Government has launched unprecedented public-health and economic responses to Covid – 19 and on 26th March 2020 the Football Association reacted accordingly by suspending all grassroots football indefinitely.
This message understandably evoked significant emotion throughout the grassroots football community. People were generally understanding and supportive of the decision however, for many, football was integral to their strategy in ‘finding a new normal’.
Finding ‘a new normal’ is a challenge for everyone in society and particularly for football (and sport in general), where our actions, behaviours and responses are largely directed by tradition and habit.
So, what does ‘finding a new normal’ mean to West Riding FA? Well first and foremost our efforts were concentrated on protecting lives and livelihood. Covid 19 exposed the vulnerability of our business model and the sphere we operate in. A model that relies on an active and engaged grassroots football community to survive, let alone thrive.
In terms of protecting the livelihoods, the safety and health of our staff was paramount. On Tuesday 1st April 2020, the Board placed 16 of the 23 employed members of staff on furlough. A core team of active staff were retained to continue supporting grassroots football across West Riding.
With effect from Monday 6th April 2020 until 31st May 2020, the following core staff comprise the active staff team at West Riding FA
Jo de Tute (Head of Football Development)
Lee Maran (Senior Football Development officer and Technical Lead)
Reece Sockett (Football Services Officer)
Victoria Johnson (Finance)
Paul Ratcliffe (Safeguarding and Compliance)
Gary Stephens (West Riding HQ)
Who should I contact now?
During this time, please direct any enquiries to one of the 7 members of staff mentioned above, or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our headquarter is closed, and all staff are working remotely, so email is the preferred method of communication.
We will respond as swiftly to your request as we can but do ask for your patience at this time if there is a delay in our response due to the reduction in staff available.
What is the current situation with grassroots football?
All grassroots football, including matches, training and friendlies are currently suspended, and this will continue until further notice in accordance with advice from The FA.
How will you communicate with me and update me on this situation?
We will continue to keep you updated with developments at West Riding FA through our social media channels, website and direct communication where appropriate.
We are also supporting our leagues and competitions in concluding their 2020-21 season via a series of online AGMs and meetings.
What is the future for football in West Riding FA?
We are doing everything we can to maintain the infrastructure of football during this time and are activating our Business Recovery Plan to enable us to get football back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so.
Many of the challenges presented to us by Covid -19 are outside of our control, yet how we respond to these challenges is entirely in our gift and we are committed to remaining agile, proactive and responsible during this unprecedented time.
We need your support, enthusiasm, passion and honesty to do this, and will be seeking your opinions and ideas so that we can get this right and be ready for the return of our Players, Teams, Coaches, Referees, Volunteers, Parents, Clubs and Leagues.