27 Jul 2020 in News
The Ebac Northern Football League's Management Committee met last Thursday and have announced a number of decisions for the 2020-21 season.
League start: The new season for the Ebac Northern Football League will start when spectators are allowed to attend matches. As set out in The FA’s timescales, the intention is to start the league on Saturday 5th September 2020. However, this is still subject to further approval from DCMS and the SGSA. A final decision on the start of the new league season will be taken once the issue of spectators is resolved nationally and the fixture list will only then be released.
League Cup competitions: The Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup (competition for all 40 clubs) will be suspended for the 2020-21 season. In its place, there will be a cup competition solely for First Division clubs, with matches to be played on a straight knock-out basis with ties to be decided on the night (with no extra time and draws at 90 minutes to be decided by a penalty shoot-out). The Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup (which is for Second Division clubs) will run as normal.
Northern Football League Chairman Glenn Youngman:
“These are unprecedented times for non-league football and we have had to balance a number of issues. The priority is to complete league fixtures. The delayed start to the season means there are fewer weeks for fixtures to be arranged. But spectators are essential to the livelihood of our clubs, so we hope the issue about when spectators can attend games will be resolved at a national level as quickly as possible so we can make a final decision about the start of the new season.
"I would also like to thank all the staff and volunteers and our clubs who are putting in so much work behind the scenes to prepare for the new season and to make it as safe as possible for players, officials and spectators.
“The decision to run two, separate cup competitions for our two divisions has been a difficult one. However, we are conscious that clubs have been affected by the loss of income. Running two cup competitions for the two divisions will reduce the pressure on the fixture list while, at the same time, providing much-needed revenue. We will keep the progress of the two cup competitions under review during the season.”
Matchday programmes: Because off the Covid-19 guidance to reduce the amount of material/paperwork handled, the league have advised clubs that paper copies of programmes should not be provided for its competitions.
Pre-season friendlies: Pre-season fixtures in August 2020 will only be posted on the league's official website if and when spectators are allowed into these matches to prevent spectators from making unnecessary journeys to behind closed door matches.
Squad numbers: For the 2020/21 season, clubs may utilise squad numbers to eliminate the need to share kit. This means clubs will not be restricted to using the usual 1-16 for example.
COVID-Secure: Clubs are reminded that the NLS Guidance - which supplements the FA Guidance and must be adhered to by clubs - requires that they must undertake a Risk Assessment on how they can implement appropriate measures to reduce the risk of transmission. Clubs are required to publish their Risk Assessment and/or their Covid-19 Action Plan by Saturday 15th August.