Doncaster leagues will restart to boost mental health
Two popular football leagues in Doncaster will restart next month ‘to boost players’ mental health’.
The Doncaster Rovers Saturday League and Doncaster Rovers Sunday Football League both plan to resume from the first weekend in April.
Chris Daines, secretary of both leagues, told the Free Press he has a ‘duty of care’ to players in both competitions and said he hoped the return of grassroots football could provide some much-needed normality in people’s lives.
Both leagues were suspended in January as a result of the latest lockdown but will be played to a conclusion with fixtures scheduled to run through to June 27.
Grassroots football has been given the green light to return from March 29 in line with the government’s easing of the current coronavirus restrictions.
“We have a duty of care to all our 2000-plus players and many are suffering from mental health problems and other problems,” said Daines.
“We want to give people a break from their problems and give them something to look forward to – the opportunity to play football with your mates and that social interaction with friends which has been missing for much of the last year.
"It's been an extremely challenging time for everyone, and for the Saturday and Sunday leagues too, and the main thing we have done is keep everyone up-to-date with everything we are doing in the way of a newsletter,” he added.
“The main consensus is that we are here for clubs, players, referees and supporters who have any problems. We are all a family.
“I’ve been told that from 2021/22 we’re the only league supporting players with serious injuries with an injured player fund to offer financial support.
“We’re also developing, as a priority, a pathway for junior footballers to play longer.”
Rossington Main Reserves have a four-point lead at the top of the Saturday League Premier Division, with the season roughly at the half-way stage. GCT Doncaster B, Askern Miners and Denaby United still harbour title ambitions.
There is a four-way battle for the Sunday League Premier Division crown between current leaders Carpenters Arms, Sporting Wadworth, AFC Royal and Scawthorpe Athletic.