A small Welsh village football club has their season disrupted by lockdown

By Willow Shah-Neville

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View from the football grounds of Sully Sports Club

The Secretary of Sully Sports FC, a small village football club in Wales, said coronavirus has ‘disrupted everything’ over the course of their season and explained how it has been difficult to keep up with the guidelines constantly changing.

Bryn Walters said the two Sully Sports FC senior sides, who play in South Wales based leagues, have both had their seasons cancelled.

Although since March 27th the club’s youth and mini teams can train and play friendlies subject to agreement from the Football Association of Wales (FAW), adults aren’t yet allowed to, and Walters said he doesn’t know when they will be able to return to action.

He said: “We’re just following the guidelines and it depends on the alert level the Welsh government provides as to how much outdoor activity adults can do.

“There are also strict guidelines about what the youth and mini teams can do. There can be 35 people on a pitch in terms of players and coaches.”

Walters also said it was recommended they take temperature checks before training but that it can be difficult to make sure that absolutely everyone complies with it. The club have bought quite a lot of PPE equipment as well to ensure that everything is as safe as possible.

He said the club have a ‘Covid officer’ appointed – someone who documents what they need to do and any games that need to be registered – but it has been a challenge to keep up with the Coronavirus rules regarding what the football teams are allowed to do and making sure everything is communicated effectively to people involved with the club.

“FAW provide really good guidance which we put up on our website so hopefully parents and players can look at that and work out very quickly what we can and can’t do. For example, we can’t use any changing rooms, so kids have to turn up in their kit…we’ve had to communicate to parents about the need to drop their kids off, whereas historically they would have been able to watch them play,” he said.

Walters went on to say that in pre-coronavirus times, Sully Sports Club was always busy and described the grounds as having one of the nicest views in Wales. He also mentioned that Sully – the village situated between Penarth and Barry – is the kind of place where you get to know everyone and there is a big community spirit.

The club itself is run by volunteers and Walters heaped praise on everyone who has contributed to keeping it going during lockdown. “I think we’ve got some great volunteers and everyone’s chipped in and tried to smooth out these issues and make sure that when things are back up and running we’re there and we’re ready to go because it’s really important that Sully FC is involved within the community and all the kids and adults enjoy their football when it comes back,” he said.

Walters said he is hopeful for the future now that the coronavirus vaccinations are being rolled out across the UK and has his fingers crossed that in September the football season will begin as normal.

The club are also extending this season into the summer for a lot of their players so they can get their ‘football fix’ but will still be following the guidelines as much as possible.

Walters said: “I think like many other football clubs people will be desperate to get back out there when all of this is over and if we can say anything to anyone then please come and be a part of the club and join in. It’s a great place to be and we’re always looking for players.” 

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