15 Jan 2021 in News
The Northern Football League says abandoning the current season is its preferred option as clubs are sent a survey by the Football Association which asks for their views on how the 2020-21 campaign should be concluded.
With the current national COVID-19 restrictions in place, any resumption in a manner that provides the clubs with safety coupled with the ability to admit supporters and to have secondary spend, means that completing the season is becoming increasingly doubtful.
After a delayed start to the campaign, "non-elite football" in the North East has been suspended since November.
A note from the Northern League’s Management Committee (LMC) read: “The LMC has fully considered the document and various options put forward within it and wholeheartedly agrees with the statement made by the FA Leagues Committee that a pre-condition of any resumption should be that all clubs are able to admit paying spectators to Phase 2 levels (30% of the minimum grading requirement – as per the NLS Return to Football Guidance) and be able to access secondary income streams such as bar income, which mirrors the overall view of clubs in the Ebac Northern League’s recent survey of its clubs.
“Having evaluated all the options on offer and the implications for our clubs it is the considered opinion of the LMC that in the current circumstances the only viable option is to declare the current season null and void and aim to get a full 2021/22 season completed commencing in early August 2021.
“Should the situation improve more quickly than is expected, the League would look to offer some competitive football in the form of a cup competition in April/May to enable clubs to recoup some of the missed income and re-engage with supporters but this wouldn’t be mandatory and would only be considered if safe to do so.”
Clubs at Steps 5 & 6 of the National League System (which includes the Ebac Northern League's two divisions) have until January 22 to respond to the survey. The feedback will assist the FA Leagues Committee to make their recommendations to the FA Council as to how to conclude the season.
The 2019-20 campaign was controversially made "null and void" - with all the results "expunged" - when it could not continue at the beginning of the pandemic last March.