JUNIOR football has been hit by the tiered regional restrictions brought in by the Government this week.

League matches for thousands of children have been suspended for four weeks by the Warrington Junior Football League.

The organisation's committee felt it was the right way forward at this time after considering all options for a league that has teams in the highest level Covid-19 Tier 3 restricted areas like Runcorn, Widnes and St Helens, along with others in Tier 2 areas like Warrington and Greater Manchester.

"Undoubtedly, there will be some level of disappointment, but as a league we serve all member clubs and morally we feel this is the correct course of action at this time," says a league statement.

The league, understood to be the second biggest in the country and administered by a committee of volunteers, has more than 10,000 registered players and around 450 games take place at weekends during a normal season.

But this season is, of course, anything but normal for around 70 clubs involved during this global pandemic.

"We have been working tirelessly and maintained open communication channels with the four county FAs that touch our league to try and come to a viable and workable solution to continue with grassroots football under the current tiered approach to regional lockdowns," says the statement.

"We have mapped for both competitive and non-competitive game scenarios so that clubs who currently operate in Tier 3 only play clubs also within Tier 3.

"Regretfully, we have come to realise that this will not work as we have players and coaches associated with those clubs who live within different tiered areas which would leave gaps in safeguarding and the inability for some teams to be able to play.

"I light of this, we have therefore decided to suspend league fixtures for a period of four weeks."

The committee have determined three main reasons for taking this action.

"To ensure that the competition remains fair to all clubs, teams, coaches and players," continues the statement.

"To monitor whether other areas move into Tier 3 during this period therefore giving us a broader scope to reinstate fixtures ie a greater number of clubs operating in the same tier.

"To comply with the rules around tiered restrictions."

Some teams now look likely to play friendly matches in this period instead.

There has been a mixed reaction to the league's announcement: