The chairman of the JC Maccabi Southern Football League has pleaded with teams to ensure that the season is completed.
After another 12 matches fell victim to the weather last weekend, David Wolff described the situation as “a bit of a nightmare”. And in true Delia Smith style, he made an, albeit more measured, rallying call to players to postpone matches only as a last resort.
The last full league programme came on October 25. Since then, the London soccer scene has been hit by rain, leaving pitches waterlogged, snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures which have left pitches frozen. So far, 86 matches have been lost.
But Wolff believes that it is not just the conditions that have resulted in a restricted programme. “In some cases, teams only want to play when it suits them,” he said.
“The weather is out of our control so we will mostly play it by ear but need the full co-operation of everyone to help us get through the season. We need clubs to be flexible to change venue at the 11th hour, not just when it suits them.”
The campaign has also been affected by four teams folding with Premier Division Bafana Bafana closing down at the end of 2009, leaving the league with 51 teams.
He added: “Teams either want to play or they don’t. We don’t want to lose any more as we’ve already lost enough clubs. Many people’s heads are down as they look out of the window, see rain or snow and don’t fancy it.”
He confirmed that “double-headers will be the priority and the cups will continue although there is one month’s grace before a further decision will be made.
“We can make teams play on 3g, which is an approved surface, although it is expensive to play on. Midweek fixtures are harder to organiser with many players working long hours.”
Recalling how the 2001 Cyril Anekstein Cup was scrapped due to a fixture backlog, Wolff said: “We want to avoid a repeat. After the problems were encountered last season, when the final was played at Hadley FC, I definitely want to see two teams line-up at Wingate.
Wolff said that he wants to monitor the progress of North West Neasden and Redbridge Jewish Care in the FA County Cups, saying: “Obviously we want them to do well but it does restrict us in terms of our own competitions.”
No league games can be played after May 31, which is the official cut-off point for the season.