Premier Division

Safety First for Hollands & Blair

Due to some home players testing positive for Covid-19 at Burgess Hill Town, Hollands & Blair decided not to travel to West Sussex for their FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against the Isthmian League South East Division side on Saturday.

Burgess Hill put out a statement on Friday evening announcing that “some players” in their squad had shown Covid-19 symptoms and some had tested positive.

Blair club secretary Laurence Plummer’s first knowledge of the problem was just before 6pm on the Friday, with information that players had symptoms. The club agreed to attend the fixture on that basis but just hours later Burgess Hill announced that those players had tested positive for Covid.

At present the Sussex outfit have been awarded the win, with Blair missing out after “failing to fulfil a fixture” but have sent a report to the Football Association today (Sunday), having acted in the best interest of everyone associated with our club.

Speaking to Kent Online Mr Plummer said: “We refused to go on the basis that they had positive Covid tests. We contacted the SCEFL league for advice and decided as a duty of care for players and supporters that we wouldn’t travel.”

The final decision not to travel was made as a committee, along with boss Simon Halsey, on the morning of the game.

There were fears that those players who had tested positive might have already spread the infection to others in the Burgess Hill team and then onto Blair’s men.

Halsey still wants the game to be played, he told Kent Online “If the FA can get this sorted out quickly, and their players have been isolated for 14 days, then why can’t we get the fixture in before the next round on the Tuesday(September 22).

“Even if they said we have to go there on the Monday night and then if we win play the next round on the Tuesday, I would go and do that.

“It is not about us getting an easy ride, it is about a duty of care to my players, their families at home, our supporters and our committee.

“I am not having a dig at Burgess Hill one bit, they have got a problem, like the rest of the world, but the game and the FA need to look at this. It has to be played somehow. We want to play the game and the FA have got to get it sorted.

“There is no way I want a bye. I want to play football.

“There is no reason why they should go through and no reason why we should go through. The game needs to be played and this is all I want, in a safe environment for my players.

Currently the FA have awarded the tie to Burgess Hill Town and drawn them to play at Cray Valley PM in the next round.

Dunston, Droylsden, Coventry United, Lincoln United, GNG Oadby Town and Broadbridge Heath all had to forfeit their FA Cup ties due to positive COID tests within their squads.