VALLEY director Neil Melvin says Rugby Town were well within their right to vote for the continued suspension of the United Counties League Premier Division – but will be more than prepared when action gets back underway.
Hopes of an immediate return to competitive action were scuppered by last week’s Government announcement of a revised coronavirus tier system to replace national lockdown measures, with Rugby joining the majority of sides in the league falling under Tier Three.
Premier Division clubs were provided with the choice of continuing to play without fans and missing out on a key source of revenue, or to remain out of action until the return of spectators was permitted.
For Town and Melvin, that was a straightforward decision to make.
“We have communicated to the league that we do not wish to play under the current circumstances,” he said.
“We feel it is important that fans are able to watch the games, and there is also the obvious financial impact of not allowing spectators has on gate and other revenue streams.
“I believe that the majority of clubs in our league have made a similar decision and we will be waiting to see whether there is a realignment of tier status in the next review. Hopefully this will allow us to get back on the pitch and continue our promotion push.”
As a result of Valley’s decision, Carl Adams’ side – currently placed seventh in the division – will not return to the pitch until Boxing Day at the earliest, with a trip to Northampton ON Chenecks forming the club’s final fixture of 2020.
Whether Rugby are provided the chance to sign off a tumultuous year remains to be seen, though the decision by 11 rival Premier Division clubs to continue playing provides some hope that a return to action – preferably in front of the Butlin Road faithful – is not too far away.
With roughly only a quarter of league fixtures completed to date, a frantic schedule inevitably lays in wait, though Town’s director has little qualms that Rugby will be prepared to face any challenges head on.
“At least under the new restrictions the players are able to train together now, after a month of only being able to do so on their own,” Melvin added.
“So hopefully they will be raring to go when we get the green light from the authorities.”