Sunday footballers will mark golden jubilee year in style

Elmer - pictured here in the 2009-10 - are one of the clubs who have played a big part in the league's history
Elmer - pictured here in the 2009-10 - are one of the clubs who have played a big part in the league's history
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The 2016-17 season will be the Chichester & West Sussex Sunday Football League’s 50th year – and they aim to mark it in style.

Founded in 1967 as the Chichester & District Sunday League, it has provided a solid base for competitive Sunday football in the area ever since. There was opposition to the concept of Sunday football in its early years, but such views slowly became more enlightened and the league went from strength to strength.

In its heyday the league had 60 teams competing in six divisions. Recent years has seen many challenges and a drop in member clubs and the number of divisions.

The league’s management committee (LMC) are determined to arrest the slide and see the golden jubilee as the ideal opportunity to begin this work.

At a special general meeting in February a number of exciting changes were made and a number of rules changed, such as:

n A new premier division introduced with no restrictions on the number of senior/intermediate players permitted in teams in that division.

The season will start in style with a new showpiece fixture – a Community Shield-type competition with a fixture between the division-one champions and Charity Cup winners.

n No restrictions on the number of intermediate players permitted in any divisions. This move in particular is a direct response to what clubs had been telling the committee.

With the recent high levels of success of a number of local Saturday clubs, it was becoming more difficult for clubs to raise teams within the old rules.

n A limit to squad sizes of 30 players per team, designed to create more clubs/teams and give players a fairer chance of getting games in realisticall- sized squads.

Some other changes being put in place for the new season will see the league embrace recent technology improvements coming from the FA and the Sussex FA.

These include making much better use of the FA full-time website. An simpler online player-registration process will make the annual task much easier for clubs and league administrators alike.

A new ‘electronic’ method of submitting match result cards will also start in September. Laptops, tablets and mobiles will all be able to be used which should see a significant reduction in unnecessary fines for the task failing to be completed correctly.

The committee have announced that in celebration of the 50-year anniversary, they will not be collecting annual affiliation and cup entry fees for the 2016/17 season. SCFA fees will be due as normal.

The season will start in style with a new showpiece fixture – a Community Shield-type competition with a fixture between the division-one champions and Charity Cup winners.

This fixture, due to become an annual event, will be played on Sunday, August 28 at a venue to be decided. It is planned to be part of a fun day and an occasion when league officials will be available to assist clubs with any outstanding administration.

While new innovations and policies are planned, the league are delighted with one success story from the current season.

The cup competitions committee took the bold decision last summer to introduce the Ken Baker Memorial Challenge Cup, open to any teams who had elected not to compete in the various SCFA Sunday competitions.

Every team eligible to enter did so. After a round-robin group stage the competition progressed into a knockout stage culminating with BR Railway Club and Westbourne contesting the first final.

The LMC are aware they have a long way to go and will not rest on their laurels.

If you have suggestions, offers of help, plans to form a new club or if you want to become a member of the committee, contact league secretary Colin Davis at cwssfl.secretary@btinternet.com or on 07513 428223.

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