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Boston United back play-offs to ‘uphold integrity’ of National League

Boston United National League

Boston United were set vote in favour of holding play-offs ahead of the National League’s 5pm deadline today (Wednesday).

Pilgrims chairman David Newton told the National League North club’s fans they were backing the National League’s recommended resolution for concluding the season to uphold the “integrity of the competition” in a statement at lunchtime.

Like York City and a number of other promotion hopefuls, they had opposed an initial resolution to scrap play-offs in National League North and South in a resolution sent to clubs last week.

The National League are expected to announce the result of the vote on Thursday before the FA Council are asked to ratify the decision.

Newton said: “We continue to seek a resolution to the current season. Last week we were asked to vote on concluding the season by firstly determining the final league positions on a “points-per-game” basis (which would put ourselves in third place) and then for the second promotion place being determined by play-offs behind-closed-doors.

“Ahead of the vote, we were then informed by the National League that football below National League level was not classed as ‘elite’ so clubs in the North and South divisions could not take part in play-off games under Government advice.

“We were also informed that the teams finishing in second place would not be promoted from the North and South divisions, as the rules only provided for promotion via play-offs. We, and many other clubs, did not agree with the National League’s interpretation of the Government guidance around the definition of ‘elite’ so it was requested that should be re-visited.

“We also felt that it was only fair that, if the play-offs could not be played under Government guidance, then a rule change should be made to allow the second promotion place to be determined on a points-per-game basis. The alternative would mean that only one club would be relegated from the National League, and that was neither fair or equitable and did not uphold the integrity of the competition.

“We have now received a new resolution that all National League clubs are invited to vote on today, which includes potential play-offs for North and South clubs. A further process would then be put in place by the National League to finalise details of the play-offs and ensure all qualifying clubs wish to participate and can be legally complaint in doing so.

“The play-offs would present many immediate challenges for the club in terms of logistics, training facilities, testing, compliance and cost and the ‘longer term’ issue of having to build the East Stand at the new Community Stadium by March 2021 to meet higher ground grading requirements should we be successful in the play-offs.

“On balance, the directors have decided that the club will vote in favour of the resolution to uphold the integrity of the competition and to give Craig Elliott the chance of delivering what we set out to do at the beginning of the season. We would then work on meeting all those challenges.

“Clearly the club’s finances have been decimated by the pandemic, so we would look for as much help as possible from fans and sponsors should play-offs go ahead behind-closed-doors, where clearly we will have all the costs of training; staging games, un-furloughing players and Covid-19 measures, but with no gate income from the games.

“The vote takes place today and we hope that things will be finalised tomorrow. We will update everyone again on the club’s plans thereafter. We also understand that if the Resolution is voted down, the outcome may be ‘null and void’ but that is not totally clear at the moment. Stay safe everyone.”

The revised resolution uses unweighted points-per-game which would see Barrow, King’s Lynn Town and Wealdstone promoted as champions from the National League’s three divisions.

The resolution will enable the play-offs to take place at Step 2 “if they are legally possible”. The National League will relegate the appropriate number of teams to keep the division at 24 clubs. Should the play-offs take place in North and South and be completed, AFC Fylde and Ebbsfleet United would be relegated along with Chorley.

Play-off clubs will have to agree to the costs and protocols if they want to take part with a minimum of four required. National League clubs get one vote each while North and South have four per division.

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Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper & @bostonunited/Twitter

 

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