THE Rotherham Sunday League's biggest cup competition could be scrapped or suspended until next season as local footballers wait to see when they will finally be able to pull on their boots again.
The Brian Beeley Knockout Cup, which traditionally ends with a final at the New York Stadium, had to be shelved last year due to the pandemic and hopes were raised that this season's competition might be played to a conclusion when ties got underway back in the autumn.
But the chances of that are receding because officials also have so many league fixtures to squeeze in before the 2020/21 campaign ends at the end of May. The league's two lower-division cup competitions have already been cancelled.
League secretary Mark Pilley said: “Schools might be going back on March 8, so that would mean we could not re-start until March 14 at the earliest. I can't see that happening therefore I think that could mean the Brian Beeley Cup is going to be knocked on its head.
“We had a meeting recently where we said if we hadn't restarted playing by the last week in February or the first week in March then that competition would have to be cancelled.
“I am toying with the idea of just leaving rounds where they are and continuing with it next season. We still have second round games to play, so we are not exactly far into it. It's just whether clubs involved now will still be operating then. If they are not then we would have to look at some other solution.”
The FA has asked clubs higher up the non-league pyramid for their views as to what to do when the lockdown is lifted and outside sport allowed again.
While the result of the survey is still to be revealed, many Saturday clubs, including Parkgate FC, feel the time has come to draw a line under it all and hopefully start afresh in August or September.
Some have played barely a quarter of their scheduled fixtures and will not be able to play into the summer to make up for lost time.
But for leagues like the 51-club strong Rotherham Sunday League, which is much further into its 2020/21 programme and hosts fixtures within the borough's boundary, there is a chance all its five divisions can be completed and promotion and relegation issues decided on the field of play.
Added Pilley: “Our Premier Division and Championship should be able to get concluded. In the Premier most of the teams have played near enough half of their matches and there are only nine clubs in it anyway.
“Our other divisions are going to be a struggle because there are more teams in them. They may have to be play two or three midweek matches but that happens in every other year.
“We won't know anything until the Prime Minister's next announcement on the lockdown (on Monday).”