FA Vase update: The FA still aims to play the final at Wembley, with fans present

The FA has been in touch with Consett AFC and other semi-finalists in recent days with regard to its plans to complete the 2019-20 FA Vase competition.

Although all leagues at our level, Step 5, were declared null and void when the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak became clear, the game’s governing body is determined to finish the Vase, as well as the FA Trophy and FA Cup.

Consett are due to face Western League side Bitton AFC in one semi-final, while our Northern League rivals Hebburn Town play Southern League side Corinthian in the other.

This week, the FA has re-iterated its intention to play the final at Wembley, and said it is in close touch with the Government about when playing games with spectators present might be possible – though this obviously depends on further lifting of restrictions necessary to stem the pandemic.

It is understood the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals will still be played on the same day, and Wembley has been approached about available dates.

Once agreement has been reached over the finals, dates for the semi-finals will be arranged, and these are likely to be before the start of any new season.

Consett AFC Chairman Frank Bell said: “We are in the hands of the Government over when it is safe to play in front of a crowd again, and The FA over when the games can be scheduled, but we are just glad our dream of playing at Wembley is still alive after the unprecedented events of the last few months.

“Since lockdown restrictions began to be lifted we have carried out an in-depth risk assessment of measures which need to be in place in readiness for a restart, and have been preparing Belle View Stadium for a safe re-opening, with all the necessary social distancing measures in place.

“Our first team will begin socially-distanced training soon, and whenever The FA give us the green light to play again, I’m sure Terry and his staff will have the lads ready for the biggest game in the club’s history.”

No more tickets for the home leg of the semi-final will be sold until we know when the game will take place.

Gary Welford