64 clubs release joint FA statement passionately speaking out against null and void decision
64 clubs have signed a joint strongly worded statement criticising the FA's decision to null and void entirely this season from steps three to six of the non-league.
Tiers three to seven of the women’s non-league were also cancelled as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to expunge results for the 2019/20 season still pends official ratification from the FA Council.
However, the 64 non-league outfits state it is unacceptable that such a decision has been handed down to them in such a manner.
The clubs state that they reached consensus their views regarding the FA's decision.
They asked: "Why was the FA decision reached so hastily when there is plenty of time ahead in the coming weeks and months that can be utilised to sensibly consult with leagues and clubs?
"The official FA statement online states that: 'The FA and National League System (NLS) steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged'. No such consensus was ever reached amongst the NLS steps three to six, some leagues were barely consulted.
"Affected clubs were eager to open an official consultation process with their respective leagues and the FA, to work on an agreed and constructive outcome. Many leagues across the country assert that no vote had been put to them by the FA, and that leagues at steps five to six in particular felt the decision had already been made by the time they had been consulted, rendering the ‘consultation’ process insignificant.
"Many clubs were never given an opportunity to vote, only to suggest possible conclusions to league officials. There appears to have been little-to-no attempt to consult deeply and widely and so formulate a clearer idea of what any ‘consensus’ amongst clubs might be.
"On a similar note, leagues and clubs at step seven of the non-league pyramid were not consulted whatsoever in the decision, in spite of the fact that the ruling affects clubs in step 7 as well.
"NLS steps one to two are not in the same “null and void” decision – it is understood they were removed from the ruling at the 11th hour. How can the FA possibly justify treating different steps under the non-league banner differently? Particularly given there now is the possibility of relegation from step two but no promotion from step three? It is incomprehensible to treat leagues differently; you cannot undermine the integrity of the footballing pyramid by applying a different set of rules to one group and not to the others.
"Voiding the season has immense financial implications on clubs, their sponsors and local communities. Why did the FA, in reaching its decision, not discuss the huge financial impact during their ‘consultation’ process? Are clubs expected to foot the bill for playing a season of ‘friendlies’?"
The 64 teams that signed the joint statement are as follows:
South Shields FC Chairman, Hashtag United Walton & Hersham FC, Wolverhampton Casuals FC Beckenham Town FC, Stockton Town FC. Shildon AFC Redcar Athletic, Jersey Bulls FC, Biggleswade United FC, Studley FC Leek Town FC, Worthing FC, West Allotment Celtic FC, Hastings United FC, Ilkley Town AFC, Otley Town FC Westfields FC, Coventry United FC Stourbridge Ladies, Stourbridge FC, 1874 Northwich, Tamworth FC Halesowen Town FC, Lancing FC, Crook Town AFC, Farnham Town, AFC Liverpool, Gateshead Leam Rangers, Quorn FC, Ascot United, Barnsley WFC, Melton Town, Sporting Khalsa, Shifnal Town, Lower Breck FC, Shepshed Dynamo AFC, Basildon Women Workington AFC, Leicester Road FC, Dudley Town FC Mulbarton Wanderers, Dinnington Town, Colney Heath FC Walthamstow FC, Campion AFC, Ware FC Ryton & Crawcrook FC, FC Birtley Town FC, Sunderland West End FC, Gainsborough Trinity FC. Herne Bay FC Corinthian FC, Community FC Truro City FC Shifnal Town Ladies, Maldon & Tiptree FC Uttoxeter Town FCWalsall Wood FC, Bootle FC, Stowmarket Town FC Aylesbury United FC, Vauxhall Motors FC