Confirmation on whether or not Step 3 and 4 leagues will remain suspended or not is revealed in a statement issued on Thursday evening.
The competitions have had their 2020/21 campaigns put on hold for the past few weeks, while the current national lockdown has been in place, with ‘non-elite’ football suspended.
The clubs fall into these UK coronavirus lockdown tiers:
– Northern Premier League: Tier 1 (0) Tier 2 (16) Tier 3 (45)
– Isthmian League: Tier 1 (0) Tier 2 (67) Tier 3 (14)
– Southern League: Tier 1 (1) Tier 2 (65) Tier 3 (16)
The Pitching In Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues have released a joint statement
The Clubs in membership of the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian Leagues (the Trident Leagues) met earlier this week to consider the challenges and issues brought about by the reintroduction of Tiers after the raising of the nationwide lockdown with effect from yesterday.
The clubs were asked to vote on a proposition that the pause in fixtures be continued with a regular review in light of changes to the Tiers and/or grants becoming available.
The total votes cast by the 224 Clubs show a substantial number of Clubs in agreement with the proposition.
The matter has been considered today by all concerned and a further statement will be issued in due course.
Step 3 & 4 leagues: “The matter has been considered today and is subject to comment by The FA.”
*Reading between the lines…they’re waiting for a sign off/agreement from The FA
Following the statement issued by the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Football Leagues yesterday, further clarification can now be given in relation to the voting following the Zoom meetings held by all 3 Trident Leagues with their Member Clubs to discuss the impact of the raising of the lockdown on 2nd December.
There were 224 Clubs voting across the 3 Leagues and of these 172 agreed with the proposition to continue the pause in fixtures, 51 disagreed and there was 1 abstention. Broken down by League, 57 Clubs in the Northern Premier League voted to agree with 4 disagreeing, 68 Clubs in the Southern League agreed with 14 disagreeing and in the Isthmian League it was much closer with 47 Clubs agreeing, 33 disagreeing and 1 abstention.
The “Agree” vote was therefore 76% and it has been agreed that the three Leagues will not sanction fixtures at this time.
It is intended that the situation is kept under review in line with Government review on the Tier allocations and restrictions. Accordingly, the next review is set for 16 December and then 30 December. It is the hope of all the Leagues that a date in January can be set for a return to fixtures with Clubs who wish being allowed to play before that date but this will not be until there is a change in the Tiers and/or some progress in the funding of the Clubs at this level.
The Government has allocated £25m to Sport England to fund Steps 1 to 6 of the National Leagues System, of which £14m is set for Steps 3-6 but is heavily weighted in favour of loans, not grants. The FA is working tirelessly with DCMS and Sport England to have the funding presented as Grants. However, these negotiations take time, and it is not expected to have an answer or clarification of details of even the loans until mid-January.
The deep concern of all involved in the NLS is that circumstances may mean that it is not possible to conclude the current format of competition in a manner in which promotion and relegation can be achieved throughout the whole pyramid with Step 2 being brought up to 48 Clubs and Step 4 brought up to 240 Clubs.
If, therefore, no progress is made by the Government on the Tiers in either of the two December reviews, it is the intention of the Alliance Committee to circulate those concerned with a survey to gather the views of the Clubs as how best to finish the season. Options will include an alternative format competition and extending the season possibly into June 2021. However the implications of all such proposals will involve the cost of players contracts and the ability of some clubs to continue playing because of other issues of grounds and the need to prepare grass pitches for the following season.
The Leagues are mindful of the needs of all Clubs and are striving to find a solution which is fair to all.
Fans reacted after seeing confirmation on whether or not Step 3 and 4 leagues will remain suspended…
Get the vote numbers Ollie
— Clive Cooke (@clicooke) December 3, 2020
The majority are in tier 3 so they’re not going to want to play behind closed doors as it’s not financially viable. Can’t blame them for that
— Stamford Goals (@GoalsStamford) December 3, 2020
Another nail in the coffin.
— glyn jarvis (@glynjarvis1) December 3, 2020
Ridiculous, if games can be played with fans, then play, if not, then don’t, simply. Teams will accumulate games in hand, so what!
— Jason Cook (@CookCook777) December 3, 2020
Basically written the season off and folded a few clubs, great effort
— Dan (@dh5603) December 3, 2020
I’m gutted. They should let fans back in. It’s ridiculous
— jamie Riley (@jamieriley31) December 3, 2020
— Gio Dainty (@Gio_Dainty) December 3, 2020
Issue is there has to be a uniform approach, as it affects promotion/relegation too
— Rob (@Bluearmypfc_) December 3, 2020
The Swedes never imposed a national lockdown/mandatory mask wearing. Sweden has fewer COVID deaths per million than the UK. It’s not because of population density, Stockholm has fewer deaths than Manchester (a similar size city). Why do Brits have to live in a police state?
— Jeremy Hume (@jeremy_hume) December 3, 2020
What a load of shit that statement is, what does substancial even mean. A majority a load, a few.
— Andy Lavin (@Igorzidane1) December 3, 2020
It’s a teaser. Substantial for substantial against. Surely it’s weighted depending on how many clubs in each tier (of which I have no idea). Surely everyone wants to play? Don’t they 🤷♂️🤷♂️🤷♂️
— Waltham Abbey FC Fan (@theabbeyabbott) December 3, 2020
Why can’t the leagues treat their clubs’ votes in isolation? If the Isthmian League clubs vote to restart why be prevented by the votes of Northern League clubs?
— Chris Layton (@SportingLeafe) December 3, 2020
The league is a joke
— Peter john Kerrigan (@PeterjohnKerri2) December 3, 2020
Genuinely don’t know what people were expecting? Huge chunk of NPL teams in T3, behind closed doors would effectively see them off.
— Sam Prest (@Sam_Prest) December 3, 2020
Weekend absolutely ruined, you should have spent time pressuring the government into reviewing the decision, what happens when and 9 rolls around and you are still all in tier 3?
— Dave Stanley (@davestanleylfc) December 3, 2020
Communications need to be much clearer. Fans and the FA need to understand why clubs voted in this way – no fans, no income, many clubs would be bankrupt in weeks if forced to play with no fans! If Govt/FA provided grants to cover lost income that would be a different matter!
— James Rogers 🤍💛💙 (@James_A_Rogers) December 3, 2020
— nigel gill (@nigelpgill) December 3, 2020
The anger here should be directed at the government for changing the tier rules. Clubs will clearly vote against resuming the season when there’s no fans allowed in and no grants being provided to offset loss of matchday revenue which is what keeps non-league teams going.
— Simon Hawley (@mondez89) December 3, 2020
Seriously, is that it……
— Paul Venters (@PaulVenters3) December 3, 2020
Awesome statement well worth the wait 😂😂
— Matt Wood (@woodeiro) December 3, 2020
That’s that then.
— WTFC Official Supporters Club (@wtfc_club) December 3, 2020
Another kick in the teeth for non league clubs, more stress for everyone involved, mental torture.
— andy beasley (@BeasleyAbeasley) December 3, 2020