BUILTH Wells Football Club have been rocked by a double blow after first team manager Dylan McPhee and chairman Chris Jones announced their sudden resignations.

The popular pair are stepping down from their positions at the Lant Field for an indeterminate period, with club officials hopeful they will return if the farce over coronavirus and returning to play restrictions are ever eased or made clearer.

The duo are stepping down immediately, which means first team assistant manager Jason Samuel will take temporary charge – at least for Builth’s friendly with rivals Llandrindod Wells, which is due to go ahead tonight (Friday, November 13).

It is not believed that the decision will affect the reserve team’s friendly, against Llandrindod Reserves, on Saturday afternoon.

McPhee and Jones’ announcements come at a time of increasing anger and confusion over restrictions placed on grassroots sport in Wales by the Welsh Government and Football Association of Wales amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Following the end of the two-week Wales-wide ‘firebreak’ lockdown that lifted on Monday, November 9, players and clubs can now return to playing sport or exercise in a group of up to 30 participants outdoors.

But tight restrictions mean that for Friday night’s friendly – due to kick-off at 7pm at the Spamen’s Broadway ground – each side are permitted to field a full team of 11, but only one substitute. Teams are also allowed to have the manager and assistant/first aider on the sidelines, resulting in 28 people altogether. The referee and the host team’s nominated Covid-19 officer make up the 30-person limit.

The lifting on Monday of the second Welsh lockdown allowed elite clubs to resume training and competing in behind closed doors fixtures.

This means that only teams in the JD Cymru Premier, English League sides Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County and English non-league side Wrexham are permitted to return to full action.

The Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League has also been permitted to continue.

The FAW says it remains in talks with Sport Wales and the Welsh Government in the hope of getting the green light to permit leagues at the lower tiers to start, while the Central Wales Football Association held Zoom meetings with its club this week to discuss ways forward during the pandemic – although beyond friendlies it is far from clear if a 2020/21 season will even be possible.

Despite a turbulent year for the country, as well as sport in Wales, the Bulls were pleased to announce in the summer that McPhee and Samuel had both agreed to stay on as manager and assistant, despite the realisation that they would be playing any new season in Tier 4, the Mid Wales East Division, due to missing the deadline to apply for Tier 3 entry, even though they met the criteria.

They also announced that every player had committed to the club for the new campaign.

The Bulls have enjoyed a momentous three years under McPhee and Samuel as coaches, as well as Jones as chairman and initially as first team manager.

It started with being crowned champions of the Spar Mid Wales Football League Division 2, which earned promotion to Division 1, where they finished sixth in their first season, climbing to third in 2019/20. They made the quarter-finals of both the Central Wales Cup and Spar League Cup last term. They also won the League Cup a year earlier against Caersws and went on to beat Llanfair United in the Summer Cup final last August.

In further positive news, the Bulls are also hoping to move on with an application to introduce floodlights at their Lant Field home and are at pains to point out that they will now come together and move forward as a club.