By Bob Wood
Newton Aycliffe FC is finally seeing light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel with the FA’s announcement that football activity can recommence.
While there is still no absolute certainty the aim is that the 2020-21 Ebac Northern League season will commence in early September.
The Emirates FA Cup will begin on Tuesday September 1, just four weeks after Arsenal and Chelsea contest the 2019-20 final.
Last Saturday the FA issued guidance to clubs on a potential timeline for a return to football in the National League System (NLS).
The guidance also detailed the steps clubs need to take to ensure players, officials, volunteers and spectators are safe when they come to a game. Clubs must publish a risk assessment by August 15.
Final details will not be confirmed until the government gives permission for games to go ahead in front of spectators. The FA has previously said that games in the NLS cannot be played without fans.
In the meantime, clubs now have permission to return to competitive training while friendlies can be played from August 1. However, these games must be played behind closed doors.
League games could be played from September, providing the government has agreed to spectators being present by then.
Newton Aycliffe FC played their last game on March 7 and were lying fifth in the Ebac Northern League Division One when the season was declared null and void.
Since then a great deal of work has gone on at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium with new drainage installed to improve the pitch.
Thanks to a generous grant from GAMP the path to the ground has been resurfaced and a new turnstile is currently being installed.
The club will publish further details when they have them, but after four months of enforced absence the club is delighted to see things moving again.