More than 100 clubs, including Peterborough, write to FA questioning decision to end non-league season and declare it null and void

Over 100 clubs have urged the FA to reconsider their decision to expunge non-league matches for the 2019/20 campaign.

Last week, English football’s governing body voided the season for divisions at Step 3 and below in the non-league pyramid due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NINTCHDBPICT000573811213 e1585652444123 - More than 100 clubs, including Peterborough, write to FA questioning decision to end non-league season and declare it null and void
The 2019/20 season has been voided and expunged for all clubs in Steps 3 to 6 of the non-league pyramid
Getty Images – Getty

And the same has applied for the women’s game below the Women’s Super League and Championship level.

However, the decision is yet to be ratified by the FA Council.

In response, a letter was sent to the FA questioning its actions on Monday with an initial 64 signatures from clubs across non-league, but the letter has gained more support since first being published.

South Shields, who have been affected by the decision as they led their respective division by 12 points, revealed the number of signatures had surpassed 100 on Tuesday.

Part of the letter read: “Our concern is grounded primarily in the needless and inexplicable haste exercised in reaching the decision, coupled with a total lack of substantive dialogue or consultation with affected clubs.

“The decision also disregards the millions of pounds invested and countless hours expended collectively by clubs, and so has critical financial implications.

“In writing this joint letter, we recognise that the decision to expunge results for the 2019-20 season still pends official ratification from the FA Council.

“However, we believe it is unacceptable that such a decision has been handed down to us in this manner. We urgently seek constructive dialogue with the FA with the aim to have the decision reconsidered.”

Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony has also signed the letter on behalf of the League One club.

South Shields tweeted: “Many thanks to @theposhofficial and their owner @DMAC102, who tonight agreed to sign the letter in a show of solidarity with those in the non-league pyramid.”

The letter accused the FA of acting with ‘needless and inexplicable haste’ by voiding the season ‘coupled with a total lack of substantive dialogue or consultation with affected clubs’.

While non-league clubs understand the decision to suspend games due to the coronavirus outbreak, the letter states they do not know why their fixtures were expunged while the Premier League and EFL remain in hope of completing the campaign.

It added: “Most clubs in steps three to six 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.

Give COVID-19 the red card

The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…

STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
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  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.

The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

“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.”

An FA spokesperson said: “The decision taken to end the 2019/20 season across steps three to seven of the National League system, the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game was made by committee representatives for the respective leagues, and was supported by the FA Board and the FA Women’s Board.

“It will now go to the FA Council for ratification. We fully support the decision they came to during these challenging and unprecedented circumstances for English football.”

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