Season ended for Ryhope CW, Sunderland RCA and Seaham Red Star after FA announcement
The likes of Ryhope CW, Sunderland RCA and Seaham Red Star have played their final league game of the 2020/21 season after the Football Association confirmed that the campaign was being brought to a premature end.
Clubs across steps three to six of the non-league system have been without a league game since November after tighter Covid-19 restrictions brought a halt to the season.
Since that decision was taken, the Football Association have sought advice from clubs across the country to get their opinions on how or if the campaign should proceed.
A statement released on Wednesday evening confirmed that 76% of clubs in steps three to six of the non-league system had indicated that they would prefer to curtail the season.
After considering those views and the financial implications of restarting behind closed doors, the FA’s Alliance and Leagues committee have now recommended that the season be brought to an end – although the move will still have to be ratified by an FA council before it is finalised.
The statement in full read: “The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have now considered the large amount of data and information submitted by clubs across the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6 as part of a survey to gather views on the continuation or conclusion of the 2020-21 league season, in addition to the information set out in the Government’s roadmap this week.
“Submissions were made by 99.1% of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, and 95.8% of clubs at Steps 5 and 6. We would like to thank the clubs for submitting their views and the time taken in providing responses during what we appreciate is an incredibly challenging period for everyone.
“The results of the survey showed that over 76% of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021.
“During this process, taking into account views of clubs and leagues it was decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option.
“This was due to various considerations, including the financial implications for many clubs, player contracts and the extent of the fixture scheduling issues caused by the national lockdown and various postponements which had resulted in there being 81% of matches left to complete for Steps 3 and 4, and 75% at Steps 5 and 6.
“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, The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season.”
The FA also revealed that they will “revisit” discussions over a potential restructure of the non-league system which was scheduled to take place at the end of last season.