Coronavirus: England’s National League joins pro game in suspending play

March 17 – The National League, which comprises the fifth and sixth tiers of the English  football pyramid immediately below the four professional leagues, has finally seen sense and joined the rest of the country – and beyond – in suspending games because of the spread of Covid-19.

Last week, amidst accusations of putting finances before health, the National League bucked the trend and allowed games to go ahead resulting in vastly increased crowds.

Six games were played in the fifth-tier National League Premier, along with 17 more across the sixth-tier National League South and National League North, on Saturday.

While those clubs who competed accrued important revenue, there was considerable consternation further down the pyramid when other non-league divisions – in need of even greater financial assistance – had their games called off resulting in potentially crippling losses.

But now, in line with the rest of English football, the National League says it will not play any fixtures until at least April 3.

“At its Board Meeting on Friday, The National League decided to use its best endeavours to keep its season going in the face of unprecedented adversity. However, with the current coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching global pandemic levels it has to accept that the situation is now out of its own control,” read a statement.

“In the knowledge of the government measures now announced including not to support sporting events with emergency services workers it is clearly not practical for its fixtures to be fulfilled in the immediate future.

In those circumstances and in line with The Football Association and the Professional Game, at a Board Meeting today, The National League has decided that its competition is now suspended until at least April 3, 2020.”

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