Sport

National League to continue as North and South leagues declared null and void

The National League will continue to be played for the rest of the season with the North and South leagues declared null and void following a recent vote by clubs.

Earlier this month, clubs from all three divisions were given the chance to decide the fate of the leagues following the Governments decision to provide clubs with further funding through loans rather than grants.

All member clubs were given the opportunity to vote on different resolutions.

Resolution one: to decide whether Step One and Two would be split when voting on the outcome of 2020/21 playing season. This resolution was passed.

Resolution two: for Step One to be declared null and void. This resolution was not passed.

Resolution three: for Step Two to be declared null and void. This resolution was passed.

The resulting outcome means that The National League season will proceed with The National League North and South being scrapped.

The continuation of Step One comes despite seven out of 23 clubs voting to end the season.

This has resulted in the owner of Dover, Jim Parmenter, resigning from The National League board in protest at how the situation has been handled and says the club will not fulfil its remaining fixtures.

Supporters voiced their frustration on Twitter with one fan saying: “A contingency plan before the season started should’ve been arranged.”

Others highlighted the massive implications this will have for the rest of the pyramid. Teams lower down now no longer having the opportunity to be promoted, leaving virtually nothing to play for.

Local National League North side Curzon Ashton expressed their disappointment but said it was the “only sensible decision” given the circumstances.

With both Altrincham and Stockport County continuing to play, we may see an upside to the chaos if our local teams continue their fight for promotion.

The outcome hasn’t come as a surprise. Many National League clubs have the financial backing required to go till the end of the season and with the chance of promotion, you can’t blame them for wanting to continue.

Tactical voting for resolution one ensured that each step could decide its own fate, meaning lesser teams in step two would be unable to out vote step one clubs and bring all three leagues to a halt.

But how can teams like Dover be expected to take much needed financial support in the form of loans that have to be paid back?

The coronavirus pandemic has left many clubs on the brink of going bust and some even have.

So, if these clubs refuse to play or even field a team made up entirely of youngsters it would heavily damage the integrity of the division.

Then there’s the question of the EFL.

The jump from non-league football is huge in both directions, so will League Two clubs accept relegation to a league where just over half the teams have completed the season?

It has been clear from the off that the situation has been handled poorly from both The National League and the Government.

The issue arose following clubs accusing the Department of Culture, Media and Sport of misleading them into believing grants would be available throughout the season and not just for the first part.

This has led to a long delay creating huge uncertainty which could lead to people being out of a job and even fans losing the clubs they passionately support.

This latest development may solve one issue, but it also creates many more. The hope for many non-league clubs and fans alike, is that it isn’t long before we here the familiar sound of the turnstiles spinning once more.

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