It’s happened again the football season for Non League clubs looks to have been brought to an abrupt end due to the pandemic.
All eyes were on the votes in the National League as to wether to continue which needed to be cast by the end of February. The League management have declared the result early because enough votes have been cast to give a result. This is before the Governments published road map to recovery due today which may have had some bearing on what would be the best course of action.
National League clubs continued playing with no supporters in the grounds after receiving government grants for a three months period. There are no longer any more grants but loans which the Government says was always the case but many clubs saying this is not how the future would be as communicated by the National League. This has meant a great deal of debate and angst amongst clubs whose articles of association would forbid them from puting their clubs at risk of financial risk. This impasse lead to the votes:
Resolution 1 that each step decides its own future was passed by 46 to 18 votes (National League 21 for 0 against, National League North 16 for 6 against, National League South 9 for 12 against). Resolution 2 that the National League (Step 1 Only) should declare the season null and void, 7 for 13 against. This resolution was defeated meaning the Step 1 National League would continue. Resolution 3 that the National League North & South would declare the season null and void. This resolution was approved by National League North 15 for 7 against and the National League South 9 for 12 against, a combined vote of 24 for and 19 against.
So in essence the National League Step 1 will continue but the national leagues North and South will cease.
However there may be more twists and turns:
18 Step 2 National League Clubs have signed a joint letter to appeal the decission and ask that the League explores ways to continue.
Some step 1 National League clubs have said they will continue playing but with `youth` team players because they have furloughed their senior playing staff. This ruins the integrity of the league results and has little consequence for clubs doing this as there is now no relegation to the step 2 leagues, North & South.
Mutterings from the EFL are saying that they will not need relegation from their Leagues to the National League because they are not having relegation from theirs.
Today , February 22nd 2021 Vacvcines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said “Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, outdoor organised team sports, grassroots football – will be back on 29th March.“
Some club Chairs are stating they may ask for a judical ruling on all that has happened via the courts.
Lower step clubs still haven’t finalised their possition.
In essence what a mess. I feel that it shows that one of my own pet soapbox possitions is vindicated when I feel that the league structure below the EFL should be run by smaller groups that reflect their region and teams. Yes we need a pyramid system but one that is from the ground upwards rather than top down. The move to restructure the League again and increase the power of The Northern Premier League at the expence of the locally run Northern League will only increase the alienation felt by local communities.