Solihull Moors have issued a statement on the 2020-21 season
Solihull Moors are calling on the National League to allow the season to start behind closed doors – and say a further delay would be “unacceptable”.
The Government’s announcement they are pausing the October date for fans to be allowed back in sports stadia – which includes Steps 1 and 2 of the National League System – has cast doubt over whether the the three divisions will kick off on time.
But Moors believe it’s time to think about the bigger picture.
A Solihull Moors statement said: “Following the Government’s announcement yesterday to pause plans to bring back supporters to elite football in October, Solihull Moors has made formal representation to the National League board urging the league to start on October 3 as scheduled.
“Our representation was a response to reports yesterday that the National League season will now be delayed until supporters are permitted into stadiums.
“The National League confirmed on July 27 to its clubs that the start date for the season would be October 3 and, as such, the club have been preparing for a 46-game season and have undertook a full five-week pre-season training programme. The club have also invested in the team for the new season ahead, all gearing towards the scheduled start date.
“The National League previously gained approval from the Government for our league to be classed as an elite sport. As of 23 September, all elite football in England above the National League has commenced (12 September) as well as other leagues below which are classed as non-elite.
“It would appear that, as a league, we have been caught between elite and non-elite, causing serious uncertainty with regards to our 2020/21 fixture programme. As an elite league, we should be mirroring The EFL and Premier League, who commenced on 12 September.
“In light of the Government’s latest announcement, we firmly believe that the season should commence on October 3 behind-closed-doors.
“We understand from the Government’s statement that the latest measures could last for up to six months, taking us into March 2021. Solihull Moors played their last competitive fixture on March 7, 2020, so a wait for supporters to return to stadia would leave our football club without a football match being played for 12 months. This is clearly not sustainable for a football club.
“In an ideal world, the club would clearly love to be playing in front of its magnificent supporters. However, we are in a pandemic and we have to adapt accordingly.
“Clubs have to look at innovative ways of generating income and engaging supporters in the current climate through live streaming.
“The lifting of the UEFA 3pm broadcast rule and options for live streaming has already been put forward to clubs by the National League. This clearly indicated to clubs that the league was prepared for part of the season to be played behind-closed-doors if required.
“Clubs have already demonstrated that they are able to host behind-closed-doors matches safely and successfully in line with relevant safety protocols, which have all been approved by local authorities. Some clubs, including ourselves, have also operated behind-closed-doors matches under even tighter restrictions due to local lockdowns.
“Work on this side of things has been significant, with the club engaging a dedicated Covid-19 officer to ensure all our operational plans for running a football match are Covid secure.
“To further delay our season and create more uncertainty is unacceptable.”