Non League: Clubs in steps three to six see season null and voided for second consecutive year


Non-League football was suspended on January 4 as the country entered a third lockdown. - Credit: Pixabay

The Football Association have announced the National League System between steps three to six is set to be made null and void for a second consecutive season.

It follows the decision to null and void the 2019-20 campaign last March due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

After returning to action in September, two more nationwide lockdowns have seen teams only able to play a handful of games, with some clubs not playing since November.

The amount of postponements had resulted in 81 per cent of matches still being left to complete for steps three and four, and 75 per cent at steps five and six.

The decision comes two days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a four-step plan, including a return to grassroots football in place from March 29, a month after the sport was suspended on January 4 ahead of the third, and current, lockdown.

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The FA, who sent surveys to all clubs asking for their thoughts on whether the campaign could continue, announced 76 per cent voted to curtail the 2020-21 season, if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before April 1.

During this process it was decided that extending beyond the end of May would not be a viable option, due to financial implications for many clubs, such as player contracts and the extent of fixture scheduling issues caused by the lockdowns and various postponements.

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“Taking into account the survey results and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which continues to adversely affect incomes for clubs due to restrictions on both spectators and hospitality, our alliance and leagues committees have reached a consensus that, subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for steps three-six of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season,” said the FA in a statement on Wednesday night.

"It has also been decided that subject to FA Council's decision regarding the curtailment of the season at steps three to six both committees will revisit discussions around a potential restructure at steps four to six of the NLS, which was previously agreed and has been on hold since the 2019-20 season. A further update on this will be provided in due course." 

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