HELSTON Athletic manager Steve Massey has voiced his concern over the limited time that clubs will be given to hold pre-season matches ahead of the 2020/21 season.

A recent meeting between the FA and leagues at steps five and six of the National League System in England saw potential scenarios for the return of non-league football being discussed, with September being mooted as the most likely date at the moment.

But with training currently restricted to groups of no more than six people with social distancing at all times, clubs will need be able to return to contact training before scheduling pre-season fixtures.

With the FA rumoured to be keen to keep pre-season down to a couple of weeks before getting on with the competitive fixtures, Massey is predicting a scramble between clubs to organise pre-season friendlies.

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“The grey area for me at the moment, and I guess for the other managers, is the pre-season,” he said. “There’s going to be quite a clamour for games to get played and everything will have to be done very, very quickly.

“Hopefully they don’t just say contact football will be allowed in the middle of September because we’ll have no games, which is match practice which you really need, because we’ll be straight into the season, and I think that is the worst-case scenario.

“I hope that we are given a month where we can play competitive football, but that of course will be your pre-season games, and that’s where the scramble will be fought. Managers and secretaries will be pulling their hair out to be perfectly honest.”

One possible condition of clubs being allowed to resume in September is attendances being capped to comply with social distancing, with the FA suggesting a 30 per cent cap in the recent meeting.

A 30 per cent cap on a maximum attendance, which according to ground grading regulations would be 1,500 at local level, would see 450 fans being permitted to enter.

This would be unlikely to affect matches at step six, with no SWPL games exceeding this number last season, although the Blues’ two cup games against Falmouth Town both surpassed 450 spectators last season.

Clubhouses and tea huts are also set to be allowed to open when the season begins, and although clubs will be required to fill out risk assessments on how to manage use of these facilities, Massey believes common sense should prevail.

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Massey said: “I honestly can’t see it affecting a crowd at our level, as long as people [are distancing], which they seem to be, you go walking around the city now and people still sidestep you on the pavement or wait until you’ve passed, and I think it’s getting second nature now.

“I think queuing to get in or queuing up at a tea hut, people are much more aware now of the personal space around them, I don’t see it a problem. It’s just got to be common knowledge.

“You can’t live your life on Government instructions all of the time, you have to use common sense. Some people lack it, but the majority of us have got a fair amount of common sense, and I think that’s what will have to be asked of people that come to the ground to watch the games and go into the clubhouse.”