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Coronavirus claims National League season before poll even closes

Football’s coronavirus lockdown finally claimed the National League season at lunchtime on Wednesday when it was officially abandoned.

After being urged to vote in favour of ending the indefinitely suspended season without playing again because of COVID-19, the decision was taken even before a vote by clubs on resolving the crisis had closed after a clear majority emerged from the votes already cast.

According to a league statement, the decision to back their recommendation to clubs would not be changed with the key outcomes around promotion and relegation now set to come “under careful consideration” in the coming days.

The National League’s three divisions were originally suspended on 16 March. Along with the Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League, Non-League’s top two tiers had hoped to restart the 2019/20 campaign.

The game below the National League was officially terminated by the Football Association at the end of March with all results expunged and promotion and relegation suspended.

The National League statement read: “National League clubs were asked to support an ordinary resolution on 9 April to end the playing season for all fixtures scheduled up to and including 25 April 2020.

“With almost 90% of responses returned it is evident a clear majority of clubs are in favour, including a majority of clubs in each of the National League, National League North and National League South divisions.

“In the knowledge that the ordinary resolution has passed, the league’s board has chosen to communicate the decision now and before the last few responses are received, which will not change the outcome, to enable clubs to make business decisions with greater clarity as soon as possible.

Clubs yet to respond still have an opportunity to do so, and the league wishes to include as many preferences as possible before the final voting result is declared.”

National League CEO Michael Tattersall

SEEKING CERTAINTY: National League CEO Michael Tattersall

National League chief executive officer Michael Tattersall added: “At a time when the entire country is wrestling with the devastating impact of Covid-19, the cancellation of the remaining normal season matches brings a degree of certainty to our clubs coping with the business implications of the virus.”

“In consideration of the very serious and unprecedented national public health emergency caused by the coronavirus, National League, National League North and National League South football activities have been suspended since 16 March.

“The options concerning the sporting outcomes of the 2019/20 season remain under careful and timely consideration, and further updates will be given in due course.”

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper  from this weekend for the latest news on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on football and society.

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The Non-League Paper

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