The F A have confirmed that all step three and below league results for the 2019/20 season have been expunged.
This followed a lot of media quotes from league and club officials who could not see a way to finish the season within time and financial constraints and the ethical position of the need to put all resources and time in fighting the pandemic. This is sad for teams like South Liverpool, Vauxhall Motors, Jersey Bulls, South Shields and others but these are difficult times.
I feel that this week the National League will also take the lead and agree to end their hopes of finishing the season. Many League Chairman have expressed a need to do this and clubs have closed down their operations to preserve money, maintain their existence and direct effort elsewhere. There are those that have deeper pockets and wish to complete the season and gain promotion but that looks unlikely with the Government posturing that we are in for a long haul.
With one place available for promotion with Bury’s demise it feels appropriate that Barrow (League leaders) should take that place. Regional diversity would be enhanced and it would be a welcome return since they were voted out in 1972.
This will anger some clubs but this is where the English Football League should be bold and demote clubs who have failed to pay players, the tax man and ignore their fans. They could then elect a club(s) to replace them.
The EFL and the Premier League will have to take a decision soon too and people such as Rio Ferdinand are suggesting that the season should be scrapped if there is a further delay.
It does the Premier League harm if in the public’s eyes it is seen as being all about their TV deals, surely if landlords can accept non payment of rent for an increase in the lease term then this type of compromise can be achieved with the broadcasters. They could also be brave and take up the innovative idea put forward by Karen Brady ( who I have rarely agreed with in the past) and suspend relegation but allow some clubs to be promoted from the Championship and have more teams relegated over the next few seasons until the current league number is again reached. Ideas like this will give a new dimension to a league that is becoming dull. Perhaps there are others that they could explore.
I think we have come to the point where ‘They think it’s all over’ will soon become ‘It is now’.