A message to all EAL clubs as the season gets underway

A message to all EAL clubs as the season gets underway

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The new football season gets underway this weekend in the Essex Alliance League and what a few months it has been to reach this point.

When the 2019/20 football season was curtailed back in March, there was much debate on when football might be permitted to resume with some estimates of there being no football until 2021! But on 18th July, the news that everybody had been waiting for came through from the FA that league football could resume in September, paving the way for an “on-time” start to the season.

Of course, this hasn’t meant that things have run completely smoothly as the sudden surge of interest in the sport plus a reluctance from local authorities and schools to make facilities available has put a severe strain on both clubs and organisers alike. Even this close to the start of the season, we still have clubs without access to pitches, a situation we have never encountered. But football is returning, albeit at a slightly slower pace compared to usual and many of our clubs will get to kick a ball this weekend for the first time in a competitive fixture.

As we are presently not able to arrange our usual face-to-face pre-season meeting for our clubs, we have put together this bulletin to provide you with information on the start of the new season.


A point we are keen to impress upon our clubs, players and even referees this season is that we must show flexibility and adapt to some differences in the way venues operate, matchday protocols and even kick-off times.

Pre and post-match handshakes are still prohibited and clubs should be avoiding unnecessary close contact for prolonged periods or sharing of equipment to ensure any risk of transmitting infection is minimalised. 

The league will, for the first part of this coming season at least, support kick-off time variations of between 12pm and 4pm, allowing multiple fixtures to be played at a venue. These variations should be a last resort as opposed to the “norm” but will hopefully mean games get played and avoid 22+ men sitting at home instead.

Support for new club secretaries

Each season we see a number of new club secretaries taking up post and are perhaps not aware of what this will entail. The first and foremost duty of a secretary is to liaise promptly both with the league’s officials on various matters (fixtures, referees, player registrations) and with the county FA, generally with regards to disciplinary matters.

The usual workflow of a secretary in a match week is summarised below to give you an idea of what to expect:


Home clubs – secretary to confirm match details with opposition and referee (KO time, colours, venue details)


Home clubs – follow up on the above if away team or referee hasn’t confirmed receipt of information

Away clubs – if you’ve not heard from home club by this point, contact them directly


Both clubs – deadline to complete result e-card for the game the previous weekend and submit any registrations for the game on WGS. This is also the deadline for registering players to take part for the coming weekend

Thursday & Friday

Have a rest!


Home club – as the host club, direct opponents and referee to changing rooms and which pitch you will be using.

Both clubs – complete emergency registrations paperwork pre-match, provide names of substitutes to referees before kick-off

After the match, home club should report the result to the Results Secretary by 6pm.

Logins for the website have been issued to all new club secretaries and you should have received these last week. Check your spam folder if you can't see the automated message but if you still can't find them, get in touch with us.

A more detailed version of the above guide, along with many other training resources are available on our website:

Whole Game System difficulties

Another noticeable issue in recent weeks has been the problems presented by the Whole Game System, particularly at busy periods in the run up to registration deadlines. We are pleased that the vast majority of our clubs have now been able to get over the line with registrations and we haven’t had to take any drastic action as yet. You will generally find that the system as at its most responsive late at night or early morning.

Please remember that in order for a player to take part in a league fixture, he must have been registered with the league on WGS by midnight on the Wednesday before OR be signed as an emergency registration on the day of the game, countersigned by the opposition and details submitted on WGS by the following Wednesday. A maximum of 3 players can be signed on a matchday using the latter approach.

Registration data from the Whole Game System is transferred weekly to our website, usually on a Friday, so the advice is always to go by what WGS shows as the being the most accurate information at any point.

The rise of social media and YouTube

The league fully supports and promotes our clubs in their use of social media and video platforms to promote themselves and the league in turn, something which we are keen to see continue to expand further in this digital age of engagement which we live in.

Much of our ongoing development is built around promoting the experience we provide to participants in the league and our clubs have a major role in supporting this in the content delivered digitally.

We do however remind all clubs that you hold a duty to ensure that the content made public is in keeping with the above philosophy and doesn’t seek to offend or call into question the action of others, including match officials and opposition teams. We are an FA Respect league and encourage all member clubs to follow the basic principle of showing respect to others in the competition, even when you might have lost a fixture in what you believe to be dubious circumstances!


The supplier of our league match balls have updated us that they are presently in transit somewhere on the ocean waves and, naturally, experienced a delay due to the effects of COVID-19 on logistics. They advise us that we will receive delivery towards the end of this month and as soon as we have them, we'll let you know how you can get your hands on them.

In summarY

The new season brings about a fresh start after what can only be described as a disappointing end to the previous aborted campaign for everybody involved in the league. The “buzz” which we have witnessed through the latter part of the summer however indicates that the game is still well and truly alive in our corner of Essex and we hope that everybody stays well and we can enjoy a minimally disrupted season in 2020/21.

We wish all of our clubs, their players and our match officials the very best of luck for the season ahead!

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