The latest updates from the East League Management Committee.
Firstly I hope I find you and the members of your club well and healthy in these uncertain times.
We also apologise for taking the what seems a delayed amount of time to write to you, but when we did we wanted to have as much "correct" information as we could at the time of writing, and in writing we have taken advice from England Hockey (who held a Board meeting yesterday), Public Health England and the Government (we felt it prudent to see what easing up of restrictions looked like following the government announcement and realistically nothing has really changed).
This email is sent to Club Secretaries, Men's and Ladies Liaison officers of all member clubs in the East Hockey League but please do share this communication with your wider Club Executive, Committee members and general membership as we think it is important that all receive the same message, but if we could ask for any questions to come back formally through the club officers.
The League tables are now complete. We were waiting for England Hockey to decide how their season was completed and we receive an additional relegation from the Investec Women's League so that will create an additional relegation going down through the structure in the Women's divisions.
As you are aware the League tables have been decided on percentage basis so that we truly reflected the games that each team had played. In almost all divisions not all teams had played the same amount of games so we felt that using a percentage basis was the fairest way. There were a couple of divisions where their seasons program had completed, so of course those divisions stood on an "as is" basis because all of the games had been played.
As always clubs will say have we definitely been promoted or relegated, and as always this will depend on League entries we receive.
The East League AGM and Presentation Day
The AGM and Presentation Day due to be held at Letchworth has, of course, been cancelled due to the current Social Distancing restrictions.
In the East League rules clubs commit to attend a Clubs meeting once a season and it is intended that the AGM will simply be moved backwards and ample notice will be given prior to the date of the meeting. We will seek to use that meeting as a Presentation Day as well, should the Social Distancing rules be relaxed prior to the start of the season (19th September).
Should Social distancing rules not be relaxed before the season start date we will continue with the rules that are currently in place.
Entries to the 20/21 season will shortly be opened and there will be a deadline of 7th June. In the 20/21 season we will be welcoming teams from the Essex Women's County League and from the 5 Counties Women's League and they will be adopted into new South-East and South-West quadrants.
We are currently planning the season to start on 19th September and will produce a season long fixture list. Please be aware this may be subject to change. For instance, if the Government state there should be no recommencement of team sport until the 1st October we may choose to move Weeks 1 and 2 "en-bloc" to different dates (possibly using slip dates), to ensure a full program can be completed. If the Government say that the recommencement date is after 1st October we will need to continue with the seasons program and once again calculate the seasons performance on a percentage points basis again.
From the point of League Entry fee, we will not seek to receive a League Entry fee until we know when the season will start and any entry fee will recognise how much of a season we will play.
Obviously you can see from the dates provided we are using a "cup half-full" approach and we understand that the season may well start much later and where this is the case a program of fixtures will already have been developed and we will have to judge whether this is appropriate once we have the further clarification of when we can play and what conditions surround this.
England Hockey are still making preparations around the AGM Proposal "A structure fit for the future" working to the original timetable mapped out in the AGM document.
Therefore we think, based on what we the believe that the AGM concludes about the 2021/22 season, assuming the EH AGM Proposal is voted through we will implement a structure that will mirror the League Structures in both the Men's and Women's games. The proposal for both ladies and men's leagues would see 1 Region-wide Premier Division, 2 x Division 1's (1 North and 1 South) and 4 quadrants divided into North-East, North-West, South-East and South-West regional blocks. In the clubs meeting we will be able to clarify further the structure so that clubs/teams know what they will be playing for going into the 2020/21 season.
We have asked England Hockey what the minimum qualification is for promotion to or relegation from the EHL, as if we are not able to play any hockey until well into the New Year it would seem harsh to be relegated from any division on the basis of, say, under 8 games. We will of course share with you any guidance.
It would of course be the ideal to be writing to clubs with more certainty both over Corona Virus planning and the England Hockey AGM proposals and their impact on the East League, but we know that you understand that one directly impacts on the other and clarity will, we are sure develop over time.
If you have any questions at all please do forward them to me and I will be very happy to reply.
East League Secretary.