BRIGHOUSE hope their post-season football tournament can still go ahead, with chairman James Howard admitting he has wanted something like this for years.

A 12-team "Covid Cup" has been created, featuring the likes of Brig, Thackley and Eccleshill, from April 13 to May 29, with two six-team groups with 10 games for each side, two two-legged semi finals, and the showpiece at Town's Yorkshire Payments Stadium.

But the Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) understands games will have to remain behind closed doors until May 17, like elite sport. Unless that changes, this tournament won't get off the ground.

Howard explained: "It can't go ahead without fans, because of the financial impact that would have on the 12 clubs, who are all due to host at least five games.

"There's no prize money or sponsorship available to cover for having no supporters, and we have to pay officials and players too.

"We want to give fans a sensible conclusion to the season, but also, clubs have commitments and liabilities that we need to cover.

"There is pressure on the DCMS to have fans back from mid-April at our level, as football tournaments like ours are being arranged up and down the UK."

Howard added: "We can't push the start date back a month because pitches need to have work done to them in the off-season, and then have eight or nine weeks to recover.

"You could ask why we don't do that now, but we're still in lockdown, and that has meant some grounds and pitches are not up to standard ahead of the next league season at the moment."

Asked why Brighouse had taken the lead with arranging the tournament, Howard explained: "It was (manager) Vill Powell's idea.

"But this is something I've been after since taking this role, uniting football in West Yorkshire, bringing everyone together for a competitive Yorkshire Cup, but logistics have got in the way before.

"We're quite well connected with the other clubs at our level in West Yorkshire, on both a personal and professional level, and we floated the idea as early as December, when football had to stop again.

"We'd only played eight league games, and we knew it was realistically going to be impossible to finish our season.

"The reason we were proactive with arranging this tournament was because we probably have a better reach on social media than the other clubs in it.

"To be clear, we don't want this to be just friendly exhibition matches, we want a really competitive event."

Brig and Ossett are the highest-ranked teams in the tournament, but Howard did want even bigger sides involved too.

He said: "We'd hoped to get York, Bradford (Park Avenue), Guiseley and Farsley involved, but there were just big logistical challenges getting it from 12 to 16 teams.

"We were in discussions with Ryan Sparks at City, and were hoping to hold the final at Valley Parade, but they're digging up their pitch at the end of the season in mid-May, the same with Halifax and Huddersfield, who I also spoke to.

"So that means the final will be at our ground, and hopefully we'll be in it."

The full list of the 12 teams in the tournament is: Brighouse, Ossett, Thackley, Campion, Eccleshill, Liversedge, Golcar, Silsden, Steeton, Garforth, Emley and Penistone.