Crumbling pyramid: English ‘feeder’ leagues debate whether to end seasons immediately

FA logo on Wembley

By Andrew Warshaw

March 25 – The English football pyramid below the four main leagues are at loggerheads over whether to shut the season down totally due to Covid-19.

Reports have emerged of a split between the top non-league clubs, many of whom are full-time and want the season completed at some point like the Premier League and English Football League, and the rest of English non-league football representing part-time and grassroots teams.

On Tuesday, several lower leagues stated their seasons were over but this was deemed to be premature with talks still ongoing.

Whilst the so-called National League – the division immediately below League Two – want to continue, as do National League North and South one step lower still, the feeder leagues further down simply don’t have the financial resources to continue to honour player contracts in the current climate, or to continue without gate receipts.

To complicate matters further, if the seasons are in fact finished the FA has to decide whether to determine the final standings by average points per game, or declare them null and void. But this cannot be done until the National League decides which way to proceed.

An English Football Association spokesperson said: “We remain in regular dialogue and consultation with all stakeholders regarding next steps across both the men’s and women’s National League pyramid and grassroots football, following the impact of the Coronavirus.

“No official decision has been made yet, but we will make a further announcement at the appropriate time.

“Our primary concern is for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff and supporters during this unprecedented time.”

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