Northern League delay re-start date after tier news PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Friday, 27 November 2020

northern league logo.pngThe Ebac Northern League have pushed back their scheduled re-start date following the Government’s tier assessment announcement.

Tier three restrictions on the North East has had a major effect on the running of the League, which was due to re-start on Saturday, December 5.

The League’s two Divisions are made-up of 40 member clubs, the vast majority of whom are based in the north east.

Only Cumbrian duo Penrith and Carlisle City, along with North Yorkshire club Northallerton Town have escaped the most severe of restrictions after their local areas were placed into tier two.

However, with tier three restrictions meaning that the vast majority of Northern League clubs would be unable to host supporters, the league have now brought their restart date in line with the government’s next scheduled review of the Covid guidelines they have put in place.

A Northern League statement has said the management committee held a meeting this morning and felt it was “simply not financially viable” for member clubs to play fixtures behind closed doors.

The statement in full read: “The current lockdown ends at midnight on the 2nd December 2020 and will be replaced by a three tier system based on total number of Covid cases in an area; the number of cases in over 60s; rate at which cases are rising or falling; the proportion of test results coming back positive and pressure on the NHS.

“Decisions made by the Government will unfortunately see the vast majority of the league's 40 clubs placed in areas covered by Tier Three restrictions which would allow football to be played at Steps 5/6 but would require them to be played behind closed doors thereby removing significant income streams for all our clubs.

“Although the FA has stressed that their key objective is to conclude the 2002/21 season and implement promotion and relegation, either through completion of the fixtures schedule or by a mathematical formula if the season is incomplete, it is the feeling of the LMC that at this stage it’s simply not financially viable to ask clubs to play without spectators being present.

“Consequently, at an emergency LMC meeting it was decided that the league would be suspended for a further two weeks until 16th December 2020 when the Government will be undertaking the first of its fortnightly reviews of the tier areas.

“We will also review the situation at this point.

“In the meantime the league will be carrying out a consultation exercise with its member clubs over the next week as to how we can fulfil the FA's objectives and still comply with the Government restrictions without putting our clubs' existence at risk.”

A number of Northern League clubs are scheduled to compete in the FA Vase and local county cups over the coming weeks and announcements are awaited over ties in those competitions.

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