League ready to build on a successful start

The Salop Leisure Football League hope to resume their inaugural season on December 12 – giving teams a week to recover from the second lockdown.

Salop Leisure League
Salop Leisure League

The league, like all football below step two of non-league, is currently on a break in keeping with the government's coronavirus guidance.

The start to the new county-wide feeder league has been viewed as a resounding success by chief sponsor Salop Leisure and the Shropshire FA, who run the administration.

And officials have planned for action in the Salop Leisure league Premier Division and Division One, which feature 20 clubs in total, to return in the second weekend of December.

"We're looking at December 12, speaking to the fixture secretary we think teams need to have at least one or a couple of training sessions before they start back into the league," said league secretary Zoe Griffiths.

"We thought it was a bit unfair to come out of lockdown on Wednesday and say you are playing on Saturday."

The 14-team Premier Division has enjoyed a competitive start to its existence, with four teams competing for the top spots and positions fifth to 12th separated by just five points.

League bosses are delighted with the standard of officiating from Shropshire-affiliated referees and assistants.

And, helped by the continued absence of supporters at elite football matches, league fixtures have been boosted by impressive gate numbers, numerous of which have been beyond the three-figure mark.

"We're pleased with the good football, it's been quite tight, nobody is running away with the Premier title," Griffiths added.

"We appoint three match officials to every fixture, so Shropshire officials are getting their games in as they go for promotion.

"And we are quite pleased with the crowds. Tony Bywater, from our sponsor, is pleased with how the league has started, he's been to watch a few games.

"Tony is quite keen for the league to be bigger and better next season and for it to continue and not be a one-league wonder."

The league are hopeful of incorporating more Shropshire clubs from next season and hope more Sunday league teams follow the lead of Shrewsbury Up & Comers and fellow Shrewsbury side Steam Wagon United, who entered Saturday football

"I'd like to think we can get a few clubs back playing within the county, it's up to the clubs. Hopefully the crowds, with a few local derbies, and standard of football will entice them," the secretary added.

"I feel we are a good starting point for any team that wants to play Saturday football."

Shropshire FA are awaiting clarification from league above their step seven status as to how promotion and relegation will play out this term.

Meanwhile, the case of an incident between Dawley Town and Steam Wagon, which led to last month's fixture being abandoned late on, will be heard by a disciplinary panel in the coming weeks.

The clubs had until last week to submit their accounts and the case will be heard by a fellow county FA panel to ensure transparency.

The Salop Leisure league management committee will then make a decision on whether the fixture is replayed or if points are awarded.

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