LEEK Town’s joyful season has ended in despair with the FA’s decision to scrap promotion and relgation issues, after declaring the 2019-20 season null and void because of the coronavirus issue.
It is cruel on the Blues standing at the top BetVictor NPL South East Division ladder and 10 games away from stepping up to a higher playing level.
Club chairman Jon Eeles (pictured right) told The Sentinel’s Jim Hannah: “Obviously it’s disappointing to have got this far and then to be told there will be no promotion for us this season – but you have to look at the bigger picture.
“We are in the middle of a crisis. People are dying out there, so we’ve got top put it into perspective. It’s a game of football, I’m sure we’ll all get over this disappointment and turn our focus to next season and go again.
“You can’t legislate for this sort of thing. It’s a blow, but everyone will raise their game again next season.
Eeles was hoping the FA would have opt for a points per game ratio to decide who goes up and down.
“That was obviously our preferred option because everyone has put a lot of time and effort into this season to get the club where it is, but as I said, there are other things going on around us, so we have to accept it now and get on with preparing for next season.”
The FA’s decision to make the season null and void has been a personal blow to Blues striker Grice, as the goals that took him past the 200-mark for his club now look like being crossed off.
But the club’s record scorer’s only regret is the team not taking the step up to the Premier Division after putting in so much hard work all season.
He remarked on Facebook: “Only waited nine years to get promoted and the season ends of null and void,” before adding: “There’s always next season and health is paramount, stay safe people!”
It’s that sort of attitude that has made Grice (pictured left) so popular with Blues fans – and the club in general.
The following statement has been released by the FA explaining their decision to curtail the season:
“We have been working collaboratively with the National League System (NLS), the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game since the outbreak of COVID-19 on how to conclude the 2019-20 season in the most appropriate way possible.
These are challenging circumstances for English football and all decisions taken are in the best interests of the game and in consultation across key stakeholders. Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time.
Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided with the integrity of the leagues in mind.
National League System
The NLS and the women’s football pyramid were able to build a consensus amongst their leagues and, where possible, aimed to create a consistent approach across all leagues, whilst taking into account the unique characteristics of each individual league.
As a result, The FA and NLS steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS steps three to six, and no promotion to NLS step two.
These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS step seven.
We will continue to assist and support the National League (NLS steps one and two) to determine the outcome of its 2019-20 season as quickly as possible. The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will also now be deferred until the start of the 2021-22 season.
Furthermore, we can now confirm that we have decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019-20 season. This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season. Our County Football Associations (CFAs) will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions.
Where appropriate, the above decisions will be put to The FA Council for ratification.
Throughout this period we continue to seek guidance in respect of the government’s financial support packages relative to COVID-19 and how they are applicable to clubs in the NLS, the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game”.