LOCAL football governing body, the Isle of Wight Divisional Football Association (IWDFA), is allowing matches on the Island to go ahead this afternoon (Saturday), amid Coronavirus (COVID-19) fears, which has decimated professional and grassroots sport across the land.

However, with the face of sport changing on an almost daily basis, as COVID-19 spreads aggressively, the IWDFA is monitoring the situation carefully.

Apart from matches which have succumbed to last night's heavy rain, which has caused waterlogging, an IWDFA spokesman said it is business as usual today, having taken advice from the Hampshire FA, who have left the decision whether or not to call off Island matches at its discretion.

Across the country, Premier League, English Football League and many non-league matches are off, with professional football bodies suspending all fixtures until Saturday, April 4, at the earliest.

A statement from the Hampshire FA reads: "As you are aware, the situation with regards to Coronavirus is being constantly reviewed and all grassroots clubs are advised to refer to updated information provided by the UK government  via https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response 

"Hampshire FA are closely monitoring the current situation and will continue to follow the advice and guidance from The FA, Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. 

"We suggest clubs share the following information with members.  

"At the current time grassroots football matches, like other forms of public gatherings, have not been banned. 

"However, all clubs are advised to take basic precautions to protect players, officials and spectators, and to delay the development of the disease.  

"These general precautions include: 

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough and sneeze. 
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands.
  • If any players, officials or spectators show any symptoms (however mild) – these include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough –they should self-isolate by staying at home for 7 days. 
  • No adult or child should be attending football matches or training sessions if they suspect they have relevant symptoms. 
  • If a child is not attending school due to symptoms, they should not be attending football sessions.
  • Avoid shaking hands – discuss and agree alternatives with opposition coaches, match and league officials.

"High Risk Groups – In older adults, those with weakened immune systems and those with cancer, diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the risk of having severe symptoms is much higher. 

"It would, therefore, be sensible for anyone in an at-risk group to avoid crowds. 
"All clubs are advised to liaise with their league/competition as a first point of contact with regards to fixtures.

"Any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league at the present time. 

"Hampshire FA’s position may change should new information and advice come to light.  

"Any change will be communicated to leagues and clubs via social media channels. 

"For further information on coronavirus, please access the NHS dedicated website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ "

The IWDFA's chairman, Geoff Ruck, said that with the situation changing daily, it looked likely all Island football may be suspended soon.

"We are entering unknown territory. However. At the moment, it is down to individual leagues as to whether football is played," said Geoff.

"Our officers will be liaising with Island clubs to make their sure they are fully compliant with current government and NHS guidelines — including having hand-washing facilities or hand sanitisers for officials, players and spectators.

"The league's monthly meeting has been brought forward one week to March 31, so between now and that date, if a club contacts the league or the IWDFA to say they have a player or players in isolation due to suspected coronavirus and they wish a postponement, then we will call an emergency meeting to decide what action to take.

"If government or Hampshire FA advice is to tell us to cease playing, we will do so.

"Should a club's players be confirmed as having the virus, the league and IWDFA will do everything in it’s power to support them.

"We are being told the disease could peak in June. If we go into lockdown in the near future — which is a real possibility — who knows what will happen.

"We are in contact with the Hampshire FA on a daily basis and we will keep clubs and the public informed as things develop.

"At the end of the day, it is a game of football. Preserving people's health and lives is more important."


Sydenhams Wessex, Division 1: Laverstock & Ford v Newport.

The Isle of Wight Memorial Cup, second round: Sandown v Whitecroft & Barton Sports; third round: Yarmouth & Calbourne v Cowes Sports Reserves.

The Isle of Wight Junior A Cup, second round: West Wight Reserves v Sandown Reserves; third round: Brading Town Reserves v Osborne Coburg.

Island League Division 2: Newchurch v Niton Community.

Combination 1: Binstead & COB Reserves v Ryde Saints Reserves.