Athletic have turned to playing football to keep their squad involved in competitive sporting action after seeing their season with the oval-shaped ball cancelled by the English Rugby Football Union in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, they registered as a football club with the JFA and have been playing a series of friendly matches against JFA Combination sides.
In a statement the JFA said: ‘At the JFA Competitions Committee, we discussed the application of JRFC to enter the JFA Combination League at this stage of the season. It was a very encouraging discussion with a general agreement that their involvement would be a positive step for both sports. Unfortunately for everyone it is not going to be practically possible as this would cause a fixture congestion taking our season potentially into June. With more adult teams already playing this year (our Jacksons Division I now has 12 teams compared to seven last season) we had hoped to start the season early. However, the delay due to Covid has meant that our fixtures, and the “free” Saturdays required to catch up on postponed games, are already stretched. Despite this we have agreed to organise a structured fixture list for the rugby club between now and the end of the season. This would involve our member clubs and would give us more flexibility in the number of teams we can select from as we can choose from more than one league.’
Jersey Reds president Cliff Chipperfield said Athletic will host games on their grounds at St Peter, with food and drink on offer for opposing sides afterwards.
Full story in Wednesday's JEP.