Competitive Jewish football is to return on Sunday September 6 after the Football Association confirmed matches can begin again following the Covid-19 lockdown.
At Monday's AGM of the Maccabi Great Britain Southern Football League (MGBSFL) it was announced that 28 Jewish teams would start the new season, an increase of three on last season – but with strict guidelines enforced over preventing the spread of the virus.
FA rules stipulate that goal posts, nets and the pitch itself should be sanitised. Players are told to avoid elaborate goal celebrations with other team-mates.
Handling of the ball, except by goalkeepers using disinfected gloves, should be kept to a minimum. And spitting is strictly forbidden.
Spectators who attend games should do so in groups of no more than six.
The treatment of injured players with properly sanitised equipment is also being stressed.
David Wolff, the MGBSFL chairman told the JC: “Everyone would share my delight in the fact that football is returning in September.
“However there are obviously restrictions that have been set out – including the need for sanitised equipment, changing rooms and very importantly with how injuries are treated.
“It was never acceptable even before the pandemic to see coaches running onto the pitch to treat players with dirty sponges.
“This is why the restrictions set out by the FA and by the Government have got to be strictly adhered to.
“We have just got to play the game properly and do all we can to help prevent a second wave of the virus.”
MGBSFL teams are allowed to begin pre-season friendly games from August 1.
All grassroots football, including the MGBSFL, was cancelled back in March with seasons not yet completed. But league winners and relegation places were confirmed on a points per game basis.
This season’s teams include newcomers Stoke Salmon, Straw Hat Pirates, North West London Azzuri and East London Bees, who all join the MGBSFL Second Division.
Hendon United, who won the Premier Division last season, are hot favourites to repeat the feat in the new season which is scheduled to run until May 31st 2021.
But a second wave of Covid-19 would leave FA having to intervene on any decision over whether matches can continue.