HEREFORDSHIRE Football League bosses say they will be ready for a September start should the FA give the grassroots green light – but, in reality, they expect the campaign to begin later.

Herefordshire FA chief executive Alan Darfi said the league was liaising with the FA and was committed to ensuring its clubs were fully ready for the big kick-off.

The league usually kicks off in the first week of September but Darfi said: “I think that would be optimistic if I’m honest. September feels pretty close.

“But, look, I would love to be in the position where that was the case and there is no harm in gearing up for then because if you gear up for then, and it’s later, then you’re already prepared.

“We’ve released some updates that you can have some football activity at the minute but it’s a little way off what we’re used to and a little way off being in a position to start running the league.

“We haven’t had anything from the FA directly to us telling us to prepare grassroots football, Step 7 and below, for September.

“That seems to be the guidance for slightly up the pyramid where, of course, you need to put more things in place to be ready.

“Clubs lower down aren’t as reliant on crowds attending to be able to survive – now that’s not to say they are not reliant on crowds at all, they are. They are just not as reliant (as clubs higher up).”

The Herefordshire Premier could be without Kington Town next season as they have applied to move into the Hellenic League Division Two North.

Nonetheless, Darfi is convinced that the league will be in a healthy state when it does restart and hopes to put that message across at an AGM pencilled in for late July.

He added: “We’ve already had lots of people affiliating and we’ve released a range of financial measures to make sure that cost is significantly reduced for next year.

“The AGM will take place as normal and we are encouraging clubs to affiliate as normal but we’re not asking for any payments until we know the date that football is coming back.

“From what we can see in terms of people communicating with us and the affiliation applications that we are receiving, next season is looking promising.

“I think people will want to play football like they’ve never wanted to play football before. I think not having sport has made people really reflect and realise how important it is to them.

“So I think as soon as we get the green light, I’d like to think that when we start the season we will start it in a good position."