THE END of lockdown is in sight for Newport County AFC and things are looking positive according to Chairman Gavin Foxall.

The Exiles last played on March 10, when beaten 2-0 at Carlisle, before the 2019/20 campaign was suspended and then cancelled.

The EFL have now confirmed that the 2020/21 season will get under way across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two on the weekend of September 12.

Speaking to Newport East's Member of the Senedd, John Griffiths, Mr Foxall said that having a definite date to aim for had been "really helpful" as the club looked to restart normal operations.

"It allows us then to enact the plans that we have put in place," he said, although he admitted that the biggest challenge was around the return of players to training.

"The environment that we have there will be very different to what the players and the staff and others are used to," he said.


"The officials have been working very hard behind the scenes to put the protocols in place that we need at our training ground down at Spytty to ensure that we have got a safe and comfortable environment for the players and staff and to ensure the English Football League (EFL) are happy for us to operate with the protocols that we need to."

Mr Foxall said that there was "undoubtedly" going to be teething problems with the return and there would be challenges.

"It is very different from what players and staff will be used to," he said.

Asked whether he felt that the disparity in wealth, between the teams at the top of the football pyramid and those in a similar position to Newport County, would change as a result of the pandemic, Mr Foxall remained hopeful.

"I think so," he said.

"I think there is a general view that football needs a bit of a reset generally.

"Also, it needs to become more sustainable, at all levels.

"The wealth at the top of the tree, the Premier League, is significant in comparison to what you get at the League 2 level.

"That said, we do benefit from solidarity payments from the Premier League and indeed from the EFL."

But, would he welcome an increase in the solidarity payments?

"We’d very much welcome those being increased," he said.

"I know that the EFL are looking at that to see if the distribution of that wealth could change.It’s not as straight forward as it sounds. There are different complexities involved.

"The associations are looking at it and will hopefully be able to contribute to that accordingly and it will change to make it a little bit easier for this football club and make us more sustainable."

John Griffiths said: "I very much look forward to Sept 12 and being able to roar the county on, hopefully to a successful season."