60 non-league clubs protest to English FA over ‘inexplicable haste’ at ending season

By Andrew Warshaw

March 31 – More than 60 non-league clubs from across English football have sent a joint letter to the country’s FA in protest at the decision to close the season down, with all results declared null and void, because of Covid-19.

The FA has faced huge criticism for expunging all results of grassroots and part-time teams whilst at the same time allowing the two top divisions in the non-league pyramid (National League and National League North and South) to buy more time with a view to keeping their seasons alive.

The 60 clubs express their “profound concern and displeasure” at the decision to wipe out all results for the 2019/20 season, dashing the promotion dreams of many of them.

The letter accuses the FA of acting with “needless and inexplicable haste” and said this was “coupled with [a] total lack of substantive dialogue or consultation with affected clubs”.

The letter also claimed that clubs in the National League and National League North and South “were removed from the ruling at the 11th hour”.

“How can the FA possibly justify treating different steps under the non-league banner differently?” it said.

Signatories said that while they agreed with the decision to suspend play during the ongoing  crisis – just like everywhere else – they could not understand the FA’s double standards. In the professional ranks,  both the Premier League and the three divisions immediately below remain on hold amid hopes of completing the current season.

“Most clubs in steps three to six (of non-league football) have now completed 70-80 per cent of their league fixtures, and it is incomprehensible that these results should be delegitimised and expunged on the basis that the final quarter of the season cannot be fulfilled in the future,” the letter read.

“Our demand for the FA to reconsider its decision is also about sending a message to the fans of our clubs, who have spent hard-earned money to follow their teams up and down the country, letting them know their support was not in vain.”

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