The original of this letter was sent by East League Secretary Neil Liversedge to all clubs on Monday lunchtime, prior to us being made aware of Boris Johnsons speech on Monday evening and the introduction of the latest lockdown.
Firstly I would like to wish all clubs, their committees and members a Happy New Year and I hope that as the year develops our day to day lives will start to return to normal.
As you are aware all of the East Region geography, in terms of hockey, were placed in Tier 4 on 20th December. This means that no league hockey can currently take place and we fear this will be the case for sometime.
Certainly to even run a minimum season in a majority of divisions (where teams play each other once) it will require all of the East Region to return into Tier 2 by the end of February.
Prior to the 2nd Lockdown the East Region was in a good position with a high percentage of games played and we were very pleased with the amount of games played on the 5th, 12th and 19th December, as it demonstrated that within our clubs there really is a great desire for your club members to return to play in a safe manner. We understand the frustration of those clubs who were in Tier 3 and to clubs who decided that they could not justify playing as they felt the risks were too high we understand and support your clubs view.
As a League Management Committee you will understand that currently it is impossible to plan anything as all games as suspended.
We do continue to plan for the minimum season however we will communicate this more clearly once there are some green shoots in the field of returning to play.
Our Chair, Rosemary Prince and I, remain open for any questions at all, we will be posting this message both to the League Website and Facebook page but can we please ask you to ask your members if they have got any questions to return them via your committee, that way we can ensure the questions ask reflect actual club views and that the questions are not already answered in the England Hockey Covid guidance.
I am sorry this is not the usual positive email you are used to receiving from me. Lets hope we can get back to the Hockey Field and enjoy each others company safely some time in the near future.
Following Boris's speech the whole country is now in lockdown and no training, let alone play, can take place. The Prime Minister explained that the current lockdown will continue into mid-February and therefore all of what Neil wrote remains valid, although it is accepted that we need everything to go our way so that we are all in Tier 2 by the time the current lockdown is reviewed. However we are sure that the wish for everything to go our way is reflected by the whole of the hockey community, so that we can start to live life with some semblance of normality.
We cannot and will not resume East League games until England Hockey state that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have authorised the return to Level 5 of their EH Return to Play Guidelines and then we will only be facilitating clubs being able to play competitive sport.