Clevedon Town welcome chance to continue FA Vase quest
- Credit: pitchero.com/clubs/clevedontown
Clevedon Town are looking forward to continuing their FA Vase adventure - despite having to do so behind closed doors.
The FA announced arrangements for this season’s competition last week, with Town scheduled to visit Wessex League Fareham Town or fellow Toolstation Western League side Plymouth Parkway on April 17 in the fourth round.
Spectators will not be allowed, though, with the FA wanting to complete the Vase in its usual format, with all remaining ties to be decided on the field and to ensure the final can be played as part of FA Non-League Finals Day at Wembley Stadium on May 22.
Unless there is a relaxation in guidance, all ties up to the final will be behind closed doors as May 17 is the earliest date on the government’s roadmap when spectators would be allowed to attend events, including non-elite football.
However, even that may change if the government finds it necessary to extend the current lockdown and existing restrictions beyond March 29, in which case the FA have said it will then carry out another review of the competition.
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Given that there are five rounds still to complete before the final, there must then be a clear danger that it might not be possible to complete all the games conventionally on the field of play.
Seasiders chairman Brian Rose said: "We are obviously pleased we will have the opportunity to resolve the tie on the field, but we are desperately disappointed that our fans will not be able to attend this and even any future games in the competition, although we accept it is the right decision in the current circumstances.
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"However, as with our previous Vase games, when we know who we are playing, we hope to be able to give fans some post-match video highlights of the game on our web site.
"It would've been great to be able to take the team and a coachload of supporters to the game and that is now out of the question. But without spectators it means there will be no gate money, which in the FA Vase is used to pay the visitor’s travelling expenses.
"It would've been nice to think that the FA would consider subsidising team’s travelling expenses, but without that the burden will now fall on us and it means any prize money we win will be swallowed up in expenses.
"I know that Stowmarket Town, who were due to play Cobham in the fourth round, have withdrawn due to the financial penalties of continuing, but we will not be doing that and denying the players and the club the chance to continue their brilliant run in the Vase this season."
Manager Micky Bell added: "We need to get the players back to training together as soon as possible to get them up to speed match wise in plenty of time, but the FA have not said anything about that, so at the moment nothing can happen until March 29 under the Government roadmap.
"Ideally, we would like more time, bearing in mind it will be over three months since we last played together in the 3-0 win against Chipping Sodbury on Boxing Day. I just hope the FA now consider the welfare of the players and to ensure their timetable works in a fair and competitive way."