Further to yesterday’s announcement from the FA, the Southern Counties East Football League have issued the following statement:
The FA have announced on their website that the FA Council has ratified the Leagues Committee’s decision to end the 2019/20 season at steps 3 to 7 in the non-league pyramid – effectively making the season null and void and resetting the start button for the beginning of the following campaign.
You may recall that the initial process in this decision involved a conference call between leagues at step 5 and 6, of which we were a part of. Our league put forward the view at this time that the season should be resolved on a points per game basis. We formed this opinion on the basis that success should be rewarded and that a lot of hard work had gone into the season by players, supporters and club officials. Indeed, there are a number of clubs currently outside the league that have expressed an interest in joining for the 2020/21 season through the proper channels and their hard work should also not be forgotten.
No vote was taken by leagues at this stage and it is true to say that opinions were divided across the country as to the best way to proceed. The Leagues Committee then took the decision to make the season null and void, the reasoning behind this is on the FA website, and the majority decision by the FA Council supported this stance. We know this will be an unwelcome conclusion to the season for many of our clubs, a number of whom have voiced their opinions directly to the FA.
Going forward, we have already announced a great initiative to support clubs by reducing annual subscriptions for 2020/21 to £0 for clubs with charter standard status and just £50 for clubs without – saving every member club £250 at a time when monies will be particularly tight. This is a move that has since been repeated by other leagues at our level to benefit their clubs and we applaud them for backing their teams when they need it most. We previously mentioned looking at potential savings in terms of registration and discipline and are close to finalising the registration savings, which will benefit every member club again. Once this, and any other decision, is put in place then we will let our clubs know.
We should have been celebrating a great weekend of football in the Southern Counties East League over Easter but we know that there are much bigger things at stake at the moment and urge everyone to follow the government advice during this period. The directors would also like to send our best wishes to John Moules, our league vice-chairman, who we are pleased to report has now left hospital and is on the road to full fitness after coronavirus.