Welcome Back: It’s great to be back isn’t it?! With live football back on TV, lockdown being relaxed and social gatherings restarting with some restrictions, we are all looking forward to getting out and blowing our respective whistles sometime soon hopefully. We are still adjusting to the “new normal”. Personally, I am emerging from a self-imposed isolation at home going out once a week for masked shopping and some occasional walking. I binged on live football when it came back on our screens and have spent far too much time in front of the box on my couch. To offset this I did purchase an exercise bike to gradually compensate for weeks of comparative inactivity. My criteria were for a folding bike to reduce the storage footprint, and for it to be recumbent so I can lean back without too much strain on my back. It is now welcome to the new world.
Society Updates: The Society has gone through a number of changes recently, detailed elsewhere in Argus. The first one you may notice is that, as far as I know, this is the first ever August edition of Argus we have produced. We have always previously produced Argus for the 9 months from September through to May, so it is now even better value for money. The thinking behind this innovation is that most football usually starts during August whether that be FA Cup competitions, Professional games, or merely training and pre-season non-competition matches (“friendlies”) at grass roots level. Also the new amendments to the Laws of the Game are now in force and it helps to know what they are so we can hit the ground running when the season begins. We can additionally better market our popular annual pre-season practical training event at Actonians, which this year we have put back a week to 23rd August. For more details see our advert elsewhere in Argus.
Practical Training: We are delighted that many Government restrictions have been relaxed, and that the FA, English football’s governing body, has produced guidelines about how we can start football activities again safely. This means that for most of us, this will be the first opportunity post-lockdown to get together and start practical training in groups in a face-to-face environment. It is looking like the usual free BBQ we offer is in jeopardy at the moment of writing, as Actonians still have restrictions on allowing food to be provided at their clubhouse. However, this could change closer to the event, but in any case we will still aim to provide a free lunch on the day. Let us know by email if you are aiming to attend, so we can cater for you, and plan the number of tutors required. Thankfully, we are assured that the clubhouse will be open to serve drinks, and we will be guided by Actonians. All amateur sports clubs will have suffered financially during lockdown, and we would encourage you to join us in putting money over the bar to thank them for hosting the event. We will be following the FA guidelines strictly including hygiene and social distancing measures. A comprehensive risk assessment is being carried out in advance, and a completed form will be on display. Participants will be required to sign in with name and contact details in the unlikely event of any track and trace being necessary. Being an open-air training event allows us more freedom to gather together, but we will be reducing groups to “bubbles” of a maximum of six people to rotate around the various sessions to minimise contact, and social distancing will respected. Temperatures will be checked on arrival, and hand sanitisers will be available throughout and required to be used by all participants. We would ask you to come changed, but toilets will be open. We will be adopting controlled access with hand-washing facilities provided. Sessions will be overseen by FA Tutors. Bring your own whistles, red and yellow cards, and flags if you have them. Any shared equipment if necessary will be sanitised before, during, and after use, e.g. flags, balls, etc. Although not required, feel free to bring and wear a face-covering if you wish, noting that it is essential if using public transport. Any parents of young referees are welcome to contact us if you have any queries or concerns.
And Finally: Don’t forget to register with your County FA using Whole Game System, and also to register as a Society member. Get yourself physically fit, read up on the new Law Amendments – for those paying a subscription to the Society we will be posting out a free hard copy of the Laws of the Game in September – attend Society meetings on-line as we have a fabulous speaker list lined up, book to join us at Actonians on 23rd August, and if the lockdown has taken its toll on you please don’t hesitate to contact any of us for support as we all could do with some help and advice from time-to-time, just pick up the phone for a chat, numbers on the back page of Argus. Here’s to a good, enjoyable and successful season of officiating, and may the ball run kindly for you.
- Society Summer Training and Barbecue – Sunday 23 August 10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Sponsored by the Referee Development Fund – FREE
Actonians FC is kindly hosting a Society training morning, led by FA Tutors, followed by a free barbecue for members and all family and friends. This is always a really fun occasion, and a chance to brush up on your skills as referees’ and assistants and meet and relax with Society friends. Please let us know if you can come by contacting the society secretary.