Wales' Helen Ward considers retirement after third tier of women's football is suspended

Wales international Helen Ward: "I'm seriously considering retirement. Not sure I've got it in me to keep training alone, home school a six-year-old and entertain a three-year-old. No chance I can do all three effectively."

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Watford and Wales striker Helen Ward says only having 23 women's clubs classed as 'elite' by the FA shows how much progress still needs to be made

Wales international Helen Ward says she is considering retirement after the shutdown of non-elite football in England.

The striker, who has 93 caps, plays outside of the top two divisions in women's football with Watford, a level considered non-elite.

Tiers three to seven of women's football were shut down by the Football Association following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of new restrictions in a TV address on Monday evening.

Ward fears she will be unable to juggle her training and family life during a third lockdown.

She said on Twitter: "I'm seriously considering retirement.

"Not sure I've got it in me to keep training alone, home school a 6 year old and entertain a 3 year old. No chance I can do all three effectively."

The FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite status), the FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs (unless under elite status), all indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots and the Women's FA Cup have all been suspended.

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No timeframe has been given for how long 'non-elite' football in England will be halted.

Elite sport to continue

Elite sport can continue behind closed doors during a new national lockdown in England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions for the country, in a television address on Monday evening, to combat the spread of coronavirus, particularly the new variant, with measures expected to last until mid-February.

Boris Johnson addresses the nation during a coronavirus briefing
Image: Boris Johnson addressed the nation during a coronavirus briefing on Monday night

The Premier League and other elite sports, including rugby's Gallagher Premiership, have strict testing regimes in place and established Covid protocols.

Professional sport in Scotland is also unaffected by new coronavirus restrictions, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a general stay at home instruction from midnight.

The announcement of a third national lockdown comes as the UK recorded 58,784 new coronavirus cases on Monday - the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.

It is the seventh day in a row that there have been more than 50,000 daily cases.

The UK's coronavirus alert level was raised from Level 4 to Level 5 for the first time on Monday.

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