Hampstead coach ‘disappointed’ after season made null and void
- Credit: David Kissman Photography
England Hockey has declared the Vitality Women's and Men's England Hockey Leagues null and void for this season.
The organisation cited the likely continued restrictions on car sharing, the amount of preparation time available and the number of matches to be played as factors in the decision.
It said in a statement: "Less than 40% of teams were in favour of continuing the season, and on this basis, it is not considered viable to continue.
"With the changes in the adult hockey structure nationally, an extra England Hockey League Conference Division will be formed. The regional leagues are currently considering and communicating their approaches to finding the candidates for joining the division in line with the guidance we have shared.
"The 20/21 [season] will be declared null and void, and there will be no promotions or relegations within the England Hockey Leagues this year."
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Kwandwane Browne, player-manager of Hampstead and Westminster Hockey Club, said it was "disappointing but completely understandable", adding that the club supports the decision.
Hampstead and Westminster will continue to train, as players look to maintain match sharpness ahead of this summer's Olympics and European Championships.
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"In terms of preparation, we are going to start by training tomorrow. We see it as an opportunity to keep on improving and helping the players who still have internationals to play this summer," said Browne.
"Just being on the field training and potentially playing in a local London league will help bring back some of the good memories."
He said that while the club will continue training to help players maintain match-fitness, the lack of fixtures also gives him the chance to look ahead to next season.
The financial implications of cancelling the league season have been well documented, but Browne maintains: "The club will still be functioning because the lower leagues and the junior leagues will continue playing.
"Hopefully, that will be enough to keep the club going financially."