Muratti mission 'impossible'

THE head of Jersey football admits it had become ‘impossible’ to stage the Muratti Vase this year.

Jersey beat Guernsey on penalties in the last men's Muratti Vase final to be held – at Footes Lane in 2019 By BEN FIORE
Jersey beat Guernsey on penalties in the last men's Muratti Vase final to be held – at Footes Lane in 2019 By BEN FIORE

The Channel Islands Inter-Insular Football Committee confirmed on Thursday that no inter-island fixtures will take place until 2022, after initial hopes that near-normal activity could have resumed in June with senior Muratti finals at Springfield.

Jersey FA president Bradley Vowden had been holding out for a possible air bridge between Jersey and Guernsey – allowing matches to go ahead – but with uncertainty still hanging over travel to and from the sister isle no firm agreement could be made.

With Jersey Bulls and Guernsey FC looking to start their seasons at the beginning of August and with a number of pre-season games lined up beforehand, the committee therefore had no other option but to cancel the historic tournament for the second year in succession.

‘Jersey have opened their borders in a slightly more ambitious and forthright way than what Guernsey have done but they have a 14-day passive policy where people are not allowed to integrate back to work, really quickly,’ said Vowden. ‘They’re still talking about that not changing until the middle of July and that made it impossible for us to be able to play.

‘There was also the impact on GFC and Jersey Bulls. When they’re preparing for their season, we’ve got to respect the fact that it’s going to be the same players who are pretty much likely to be playing in the Muratti. So when you factor in the pre-season friendlies and the start of their season, it just doesn’t give us any time.’

Nevertheless, it is not only the senior men who will miss out but the women, under-21s, U18s and U16s too – plus the U15 Star Trophy squad and the U11 primary school side.

‘The biggest regret I’ve got is – and I’ve been fortunate and played for the age groups and I know many guys have done exactly the same – the players missing out on the age-group games for two years now,’ Vowden added.

‘Some have missed out on U16, some have missed out on U18 and some are going to miss out on U21. When you get to senior level, you get plenty of opportunities – age doesn’t become a barrier. But in the younger age groups the players, when they look back, they will realise that they have missed out.’

Full story in Friday's JEP.

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