After a year of considerable disruption, delay and frustration England Hockey, in consultation with participating clubs, has taken the decision to curtail the Vitality Women’s and Men’s England Hockey Leagues for this season. Despite the government announcements allowing a Return to Play the likely continuing restrictions on car sharing as well as the amount of preparation time and number of matches to be played has been a significant consideration in the decision for all involved.
Over the course of the season clubs have been consulted on options for continuing the season when the circumstances have allowed. In the early New Year the vast majority of clubs were in favour of concluding a shorter season, where teams play each other once, however consultation in the last week has indicated otherwise. The view was not unanimous but less than 40% of teams were in favour of continuing the season and on this basis it is not considered viable to continue.
The implications of this are that the 2020-21 season will be declared null and void and there will be no promotions or relegations within the England Hockey Leagues this year. With the changes in the adult hockey structure nationally an extra England Hockey League Conference Division will be formed. The Regional Leagues are currently considering and communicating their approaches to finding the candidates for joining the division in line with guidance we have shared.
Obviously the situation is disappointing for everyone involved but the main aim is to allow clubs and teams to be ready to return for next season and be able to make the necessary preparations.
The England Hockey Competitions team would like to thank clubs for their patience, pragmatism and perseverance this year. We are still hopeful of running revised Tiered Club Championships for Adults, Masters and Juniors later in the summer if demand remains. We all hope next year will see the England Hockey Leagues and Super 6’s return in earnest.