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Bulls Only Pre-Season Friendly Cancelled

Jersey Bulls' only planned pre-season friendly has been cancelled because of fears that it could attract off-island visitors.

Gary Freeman's side were due to take on Risborough Rangers behind closed doors on 29 August.

Both sides were unbeaten in their respective decisions last season and were cruelly denied promotion because of Covid-19.

The match was set to be the first to be contested in the Channel Islands with an overseas team since lockdown.

But with the strict rules on gatherings, it was cancelled 'on the basis that an event cannot deliberately attract international visitors'.

"Whilst the game was always going to be held behind closed doors with no fans due to the Island’s ruling on mass gatherings, it was something Risborough were happy to do when they approached us back in April. Since then, the Risborough Rangers manager, Mark Eaton has worked tirelessly to organise the trip and produced some excellent mitigation of the prevention of Covid-19. This included every member of their travelling party to be PCR tested in the UK before travelling.

"This fixture could have been the first contest in the Channel Islands to be played since lockdown with an overseas team. Risborough had robust safety procedures on how they travel to Jersey and this is something that our authorities could have embraced. We can only stress as a club that the safety of our players, management, supporters and the wider Jersey community must come first and we hope that we can be playing football in front of our fans soon." - Ian Horswell, Jersey Bulls Director.

The sport was allowed to resume earlier this month with the move to Level 1. However, no more than 40 people are allowed into the match which includes officials, players and staff.

Despite on-island friendlies taking place over recent days between Jersey clubs, there will be no off-island clubs playing in Jersey until at least September.

"We reached out to Jersey Bulls back in April after both our achievements of being unbeaten and winning our respective divisions was cruelly snatched away with the decision to expunge our results. Since then we have been really excited to play this prestigious fixture. We realise that the health and safety of everyone in these difficult times is of paramount importance but with the steps both ourselves and the Bulls had taken mitigate any risk we believe the fixture could and should have gone ahead as planned.

"In the UK we have been able to play friendly matches behind closed doors since the 1st August. Although we are really disappointed, we hope this is simply a postponement rather than a cancellation and we get the chance to play the Bulls sometime in the future. One thing is for sure having now got to know more about the club and the people running it, the Island of Jersey has a football team they can be really proud of." - Mark Eaton, Risborough Rangers Manager.

The Bulls league season is set to begin on the 5 September, but the Combined Counties League have said it will only start when fans are allowed into stadiums.

"The Bulls are expecting to play away fixtures only in the first few months of the new season. This will remain the case until the Jersey Government has deemed it safe for fixtures to be played in Jersey against English opposition."

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