Football

Coronavirus: Kentish Cup 2020 Cancelled

The cup competition between UK, French and Dutch forces is in its 99th year and was due to take place in Portsmouth.

The Kentish Cup will not be played this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The football competition between British, French and Dutch forces was due to be held in Portsmouth this autumn.

The tournament was cancelled as the French and Dutch sides are unable to travel in the current climate.

Flight Sergeant Dyfan Pierce, head coach of UK Armed Forces (UKAF) football, said: "It's been a challenging year, one that I wasn't really expecting.

"Fingers crossed, we'll be back on that playing surface sooner rather than later."

A number of major military sporting events have been cancelled since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Although some sporting events have been able to resume across the three services, the situation remains complicated.

"It's difficult to get fixtures in place at the best of times pre-COVID," Flight Sergeant Pierce said.

"Ultimately, as I've reiterated to the players and the staff a number of times, we want to see them playing football, we want to see them playing for their units, their corps, their single services but, ultimately, we want to see them also play UKAF football.

"I think communication is key. We've always had a good relationship with all three single services but I think it's just an understanding that every side has got an objective and a purpose," he added.

"The single services champion their players to come for UKAF because they all want to play for UKAF.

"They all want to play challenging international fixtures wearing the UK Armed Forces badge. 

"We want to work with them and we understand that everyone's got pressures, and with COVID, moving forward, it's going to be even harder.

"Let's work together to ensure that we get those fixtures and let the players come and play."

The UKAF team are hoping to play a fixture before the end of 2020.

This is not the first time the Kentish Cup has been cancelled.

The tournament – which started in 1921 – was cancelled for a period during the Second World War, as well as more recently.

Plans are already being put into place for the 100th anniversary of the competition next year.

With plans for games against the Irish Defence Forces and various club sides in the pipeline, Flight Sergeant Pierce hopes to see his team back in action again before the end of the year.