LOCAL non-league clubs are facing an anxious wait following the FA’s decision to end the current season with immediate effect, due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.
Football’s governing body has yet to decide whether to declare this season void, or work out a promotion and relegation system.
If the decision is to declare the season void it will be a bitter pill for the likes of Leek Town and Uttoxeter Town to swallow, as both clubs are on the cusp of promotion to a higher division.
Leek top the BetVictor NPL South East Division while Uttoxeter occupy one of the automatic promotion places (4th) in the Midland League First Division.
One suggestion as an alternative to declaring the season void is to determine final placings via average points achieved per game.
The FA has said it will make an announcement ‘at the appropriate time’.
The FA has issued a statement: “No official decision has been made yet. Our primary concern is for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff and supporters during this unprecdented time.”
Leek Town manager Neil Baker agrees with the decision to suspend football, but he wants a positive outcome with promotion.
Baker told The Sentinel’s Jim Hannah: “It would be ridiculous to wipe out this season’s record. We are three-quarters of the way through the season, so we need to find a solution.
“In my opinion they should settle promotion and relegation issues on a points per game ratio, I think that’s the only fair way to do it.
“That would mean ourselves and Stamford (2nd) promoted, which is fair given our current league positions. We are clearly the best two teams in the league.”
Paul Wright, who took over as manager of Midland League Division One Rocester early in the season, sees the situation as a nightmare and no easy way to solve.
He said: “There’s no right way to do it. Points per game isn’t right as that punishes teams that haven’t played as many games due to runs in the cup etc. Null and void stops a team that is top gaining promotion. They should have completed the season.
“Teams have players on contracts etc and are in a real financial mess. I can see several teams folding due to this crisis. It’s a nightmare.
“Thankfully, at Rocester we are run very, very well and have some top people looking after the club, so we should be fine.”