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Local football sides could face a second null and void season

Local football sides could face a second null and void season

by Tom Martin (January 2021)

The Northern Premier League and North West Counties League could both be declared null and void for a second successive season.


All games in both leagues have been suspended due to England entering a third national lockdown last week.


The Football Association opted to scrap the 2019/20 campaign with immediate effect in March of last year, with no promotion or relegation taking place.


The decision was met with a huge backlash from those within the game, with over 150 clubs signing an open letter to the FA calling on them to reconsider their decision at the time.


And now Mark Frost, of the FA Leagues Committee, has informed clubs in both leagues that the FA will be sending out surveys to discover the views of clubs, but the expectation is that the season will be ended prematurely again.


“It is apparent to us all, that with the current restrictions in place any resumption of the National League System 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 2020-2021 season is becoming increasingly doubtful,” he said.


“We will be issuing a survey for clubs to complete that will give us the information that we can consider to assist us making our recommendation to FA Council as to how we conclude the season. To be clear, within the survey we are not asking the clubs to vote on any specific decision, we are simply using the survey to gather the views of the clubs.”


While the board of the Northern Premier League holds the view, together with its fellow Trident Leagues, that the season should cease immediately and be declared null and void.


A statement from the NPL read: “The board of the Northern Premier League has, together with our fellow Trident Leagues, reviewed the implications of the latest Government lockdown. The matter was also discussed at length by the FA’s Alliance Committee earlier this week.


“In order to reach a decision that will apply across Steps 3 & 4 in the National League System, and which is informed by the views of all clubs at Steps 3 & 4, clubs will shortly be asked by the Football Association to provide their views on whether the 2020/21 season should be terminated and, if not, what the alternative should be.


“Independent of that survey, all three of the Trident League’s boards hold the view that the season should cease immediately and be declared null and void.


“The ultimate decision lies with The FA Council, following a proposal made by the Alliance Committee but no proposal will be drafted until clubs’ views have been collated and assessed.”


The NPL has also postponed all fixtures up to and including Saturday, March 6, as they believe there is no suggestion that the national lockdown will be lifted before that date.


While all games in the North West Counties League, FA Trophy and FA Vase have also been suspended until further notice.


Report by Connor O'Neill

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