Football

Forces Football Aiming To Return By May

The chairman of UK Armed Forces football, Air Commodore Simon Harper, is hoping the sport will be back before the end of the season.

Military football is aiming to return by May, according to the Chairman of UK Armed Forces football.

Unit or station level may be the first form of the game to come back.

Air Commodore Simon Harper also gave hope for a busy November of football with the centenary of the Kentish Cup and Remembrance fixtures.

The 2021 Inter Services matches have all been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Air Cdre Harper said: "Depending on when this lockdown ends and depending on when the national governing body wants to approach all levels of football, I think it's possible that some form of football will start before the end of this season, so before the end of May of this year.

"That may be unit football. It may be station football in the first instance.

"All three services will have their own priorities as to which football they want to start and frankly it's not for me as chairman of UK Armed Forces football to direct or advise them. It's up to them.

The Kentish Cup will celebrate its centenary this year and there is a hope that matches against the Dutch and French forces may be played in the UK.

"It's entirely possible and, indeed it has been discussed, whether there will be the possibility of some representative team friendlies towards the end of this season, so the back end of April/early May perhaps.

"That's dependent on many, many different factors.

"We were keen to make sure that we didn't recreate the Inter Services in some other way.

"There may be the opportunity for friendlies but it may be that the three services want to focus their restart of football, if I can call it that, at unit or station level."

Air Cdre Harper also gave hope for a busy autumn at UKAF level, with both the French and Dutch teams keen to play in the Kentish Cup in Portsmouth.

He said: "That's really good news... that both the French and Dutch guys are willing to begin to think about travelling, coming to the UK and playing those fixtures."

Air Cdre Harper added there are plans for the UKAF women's team to play against Chelsea women's academy side after a Remembrance fixture between the two in November last year was called off due to new coronavirus restrictions.

"We're looking at the opportunity of doing something similar in that sort of timescale for November 2021," he said.