Football

UKAF Women To 'Plan For 2021' After Chelsea Fixture Cancellation

The team were due to play the Women's Super League academy side at Kingsmeadow as a Remembrance fixture.

The UK Armed Forces Women's team are now looking ahead to 2021 after their fixture against the Chelsea Academy was cancelled.

The match was set to take place at Kingsmeadow but the latest COVID-19 restrictions meant officials were forced to call off the contest.

That news was followed by the cancellation of the 2020 Inter Services Championships which was "a big disappointment" for the players, according to UKAF Women's manager Sergeant Karl Milgate.

But Sgt Milgate said the team are already looking ahead to next year and are continuing to plan for games.

He said: "We’ll plan for 2021.

"Chelsea obviously still want to compete and organise something in the future which will be exciting. That’ll just have to be picked to be the right moment. 

“Obviously, the Dutch Armed Forces at the Royal Netherlands. They will look to play but again, in April, that’s probably going to come too soon if we’re being realistic.

"But let’s plan for it and see what we get out of that. We want to increase the participation and the competition for UK Armed Forces on an international stage.

"The Irish Defence Forces came over last July. That was an increased additional fixture.

"We’ve spoke to them in the last few weeks and they’re keen to compete again. Again, restrictions are obviously going to be the barrier.

"We’ll keep trying to increase the international competition because that’s what it should be at this level.

"Unfortunately, for probably the first part of next year, we will have to look domestically probably."

Sergeant Karl Milgate took over as UKAF Women's manager last year.

An 8-0 drubbing of the Irish Defence Forces was the perfect way for Sgt Milgate to start his tenure as manager last year.

That was followed by a loss to Portsmouth but the proposed Chelsea match was to be their biggest test yet.

"In terms of the women’s environment, they’re WSL," Sgt Milgate explained.

"They're [a] Women’s Super League academy team which is what it was going to be last week.

"It’s full of eleven plus internationals, nine England U19/20 internationals so they are girls that are representing at a very high level - the highest t they can for their age and they’re only one step away from the Chelsea first team."

He added: "For our girls, they were excited, they knew what was ahead. Chelsea had really opened their doors to us.

"They were going to host the event at Kingsmeadow which is the Chelsea Women’s home stadium for the Women’s Super League games.

"We were due to visit Cobham which is Chelsea’s main training ground where the women train out of every day... they really bought into UK Armed Forces football and to give our girls the best experience they could as well."