BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Dulwich Hamlet were the most senior South London side in action on Saturday as the coronavirus devastated the weekend’s football.
Bromley’s National League home game against Chorley was postponed hours before kick off.
“Having received communication from Chorley a short while ago, we have been informed that one of their players has shown symptoms of COVID-19,” said the Ravens in a statement on Saturday.
“Therefore, it is only right that this game is postponed.
“The club has a duty of care to all of our players, staff and supporters. The safety and welfare of these individuals is paramount.”
Hamlet’s National League South fixture against Hemel Hempstead Town did go ahead and 2,376 packed into Champion Hill as goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Aaron Barnes cancelled out Aaron Jarvis’ opener.
It was Dulwich’s first victory since February 1 and halted a run of four successive reverses which had seen them drop into the relegation zone.
The result moved Gavin Rose’s side up to 16th in the standings but they have played five fixtures more than 20th-placed Tonbridge Angels.
The National League released a statement on Monday. It said: “At its board meeting on Friday, the National League decided to use its best endeavours to keep its season going in the face of unprecedented adversity
“However, with the current coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching global pandemic levels it has to accept that the situation is now out of its own control.
“In the knowledge of the government measures now announced including not to support sporting events with emergency services workers it is clearly not practical for its fixtures to be fulfilled in the immediate future.
“In those circumstances and in line with the Football Association and the professional game, at a board meeting today, the National League has decided that its competition is now suspended until at least April 3 2020.
“The National League will continue to monitor the situation, but trusts that its loyal clubs, fans, players, officials, staff, volunteers and sponsors will accept that it has had no other choice but to reach this decision.
“It wishes everybody connected with the competition and indeed the whole country a safe passage through these turbulent times.
The Isthmian League postponed all their fixtures at the weekend.
They issued a statement over the weekend: “There is little doubt that the decision made to suspend was the most critical decision made by this league since the fixtures were suspended in September 1939.
“The consensus of opinion is that the decision to suspend was the right one and it will be more difficult to rule whether or not the season can be continued. Such a decision has to be taken in the light of all existing information.
“In the meantime, no decisions are being made about the league, about play-off matches or promotion and relegation. There is no information at present about financial support from either the FA or government, but these are all ongoing concerns which we continue to voice.
“The only matter which is clear at present is that contract players need to be paid, unless those players agree not to be paid.
“There is no ban on non-competitive matches, but clubs are asked to bear in mind all facts before making any decisions about the holding of any events.”
The SCEFL did go ahead.
Malaki Coker and Christian Udo scored for Fisher as they picked up a 2-0 home win over Punjab United in the Premier Division.
AFC Croydon lost 2-1 at home to Deal Town. Umaro Alpha had equalised for the South Londoners on the stroke of half time.
Croydon won 3-0 at Lewisham Borough in the SCEFL First Division. John Price-Rylah bagged a brace with Andy Somo also on target.
Matt Faithorn and Jefferson Aibangbee netted as Forest Hill Park drew 2-2 at Rusthall.
The SCEFL also provided an update: “Following the advice just given by the prime minister that “all non-essential social contact” should be avoided, it is now appropriate to suspend the league season and all fixtures scheduled up to and including Saturday March 28 2020.
“The Southern Counties East League will continue to monitor the situation on a regular basis using government and FA guidance to decide if it will be appropriate to recommence after that date.
“Thank you for your patience in this matter but it is an ever changing picture.”
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD
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