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Southern Counties East side Deal Town wait on confirmation of FA Vase participation

Deal Town face a waiting game to see if they are to return to action in the FA Vase.

While their campaign in the Southern Counties East League may have been curtailed, there is still the possibility of competing in the national cup competition.

Manager Derek Hares is happy to resume their FA Vase campaign if it's safe to do so Picture: Chris Davey
Manager Derek Hares is happy to resume their FA Vase campaign if it's safe to do so Picture: Chris Davey

Deal are the only SCEFL side left in the tournament, one which was suspended when the country went into lockdown. It’s expected to resume when, and if, football gets the go-ahead again at non-elite level at the end of March.

Manager Derek Hares was contacted earlier in the week and was awaiting official confirmation from the FA that their Vase competition was being restarted but it’s been widely reported that it will be.

Deal have a third round match to play at home to Binfield to play. The winner will be away to Fakenham Town in the last 32 round of the Vase. The Binfield match would be played in early April, just days after players are permitted to return to training.

Any return to action remains dependent on the government’s key Covid tests being met and Hares is having to sit tight before anything is officially announced.

“There won’t be a lot of time to get ready but at least both teams will be in the same boat,” he said.

“It is all dependent on what is going to happen in the next month, if the figures come down.

“All we have had is a statement from the league saying that there is a possibility we will be able to play our FA Vase game. I have heard nothing official at the moment.

“It seems that the likelihood is it will go ahead, that is what I am being told, but there are still lots of things up in the air about it. I just hope they make a decision sooner rather than later.”

The third round match would almost certainly be played behind closed doors. There are still discussions continuing over whether or not to allow fans to attend matches at non-elite level.

Hares doesn’t even know if his team will be able to train properly and whether they will have to adhere to the ‘rule of six.’

He’s happy to play but only wants to do so if it’s safe.

He said: “We all want to play football, of course, but it has to be done safely doesn’t it? We have kept the players informed and for them, like us, it is a waiting game.

“I just hope we get a little more clarification in the next couple of weeks but even then the FA could set a date for the game to be played, where and when, but that could all change couldn’t it? It is a case of just waiting now. I do believe the intention is to play that game and that is what people want to do. We want to play football but it all has to be done safely, that is the main thing.”

Deal’s league season was ended last Thursday, with football across the country at steps 3-6 curtailed.

Read more on non-league football in Kent

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