FA cancels season for non-League teams at steps five and six due to coronavirus pandemic
- March 26, 2020
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The Football Association has told clubs at steps five and six of the non-league pyramid their season ‘must end immediately’ due to the coronavirus pandemic – a decision they support.
Matches had been suspended at all levels from professional to the grassroots game.
The FA hosted a web seminar for step five and six leagues on Tuesday and the decision was taken to prematurely end the season, according to the Essex Senior League.
“Following on from the pre-arranged Webex meeting today with the FA and our colleagues in Step 5/6 leagues, The FA have confirmed that the season 2019/20 must end immediately,” a statement posted on Twitter read.
“The consensus was there is no option of any football being played for the rest of this season due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Even if the FA were to extend, it wasn’t going to be possible to complete remaining games, also subject to being allowed to socialise by May.”
The Essex Senior League also said that a decision has yet to be communicated as to how best to end the season.
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A statement from Nick Robinson, Chair of the Isthmian League, later read: “The Alliance Leagues held the latest of several conference calls last night (Monday) after our own Board, and those of the Northern Premier and Southern Leagues, met over the weekend to determine how we wish to proceed.
“We have also participated in calls with the Step 5/6 clubs.
“The Step 3 & 4 Leagues share Clubs’ frustration that it is taking so long to determine whether the 2019/20 season is to end now, and if so on what basis.
“To maintain the integrity of our competitions, we ideally need to apply one solution across the whole of the National League System. However, this may not be possible.
The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues are unanimous in wanting to terminate the 2019-20 season immediately.
“The Step 5/6 Leagues also support the immediate termination of the season.
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“Whether that is done on the basis of determining final placings via average points per game, or the season is declared null & void cannot be determined until the National League decides how it wishes to proceed.
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“Right now, the National League’s position is that they wish to be able to resume the 2019-20 season at some point.
“The feeder Leagues do not support this because our Clubs do not have the financial resources to continue to honour Player contracts indefinitely.
“The Step 3 and 4 Leagues have therefore commenced the process to terminate the season. This has to be ratified by the FA Council, so there may be a short delay as the relevant documentation is submitted, distributed and approved.
“Whilst this process is on-going, and once the National League has finalised how it wishes to proceed, competition issues can then be decided, together with the implications for promotion and relegation.
“As soon as the National League’s position is finalised, we will be able to confirm the basis on which the 2019-20 season has ended.