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Details on next season revealed from FA meeting with Step 5 & 6 leagues

Very interesting details on next season have been revealed from the FA meeting with Step 5 & 6 leagues which took place on Friday.

This afternoon leagues were told about various scenarios & plans. The aim, which is subject to government guidance, is to start all of non league at a similar time with crowds.

The South West Peninsula League said:

Even if a league at a higher step has a vacancy caused by a club folding or requesting voluntary relegation, NO Promotion will occur and that league will run short.The FA will look at applications to enter the pyramid to fill a vacancy (AFC Bury and Isle of Mann were only ones mentioned).

The FA National Game have had a 38% cut in funding. This will impact all NLS leagues who will no longer receive FA Development funding, but they will still receive Administration grants at current level.FA Vase prize money will be reduced by approx 6%.

It is the FA’s ambition still to run the FA Cup & FA Vase in full, BUT that may not be possible and certainly with the FA Cup they are contractually bound to have the FA Cup 3rd Rd on the opening weekend of January, so the dates and numbers of earlier rounds may be affected by that.

The non-league final day at Wembley is subject to the FA calendar given that Euro 2020 matches now have to fit into 2021.

Consideration is being given to do away with Replays in both Cup & Vase to aid fitting in league fixtures.

If the season does not start in August then League and County Cups cannot be run in the traditional formats during the league playing season, but possible that new ways could be found to run Cups.

The FA stated that NLS will only re-start when the Dept of Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) gives approval AND subject to any conditions that the DCMS makes.

Games cannot re-start at Steps 1 to 7 of the NLS without spectators, AND ALL STEPS ARE TIED TOGETHER on a restart date (eg Step 6 cannot start whilst Step 3 is not allowed and vice versa) Football BELOW Step 7 where no admission is taken may start on a different date and is subject to specific “grass-roots” Govt guidance.

The FA are working on various scenarios as to when and how it affects the programme of games, this was explained as:

August – A normal season

September/October – Full League seasons to be priority with NO League or County Cups

November/January – Not possible for a full league season to be played and in this situation either half seasons (play each other once) or splitting divisions in half (probably on geographics) so that in our case we have 4 divisions of 10 rather than 2 of 20

Later than January – Worse case scenario with re-structure and leagues maybe held over again until 2021/22 season.

Whilst NOT a commitment or guarantee by any means, the FA said the most likely current scenario would be September.

Pre-Season – The FA stated a pre-season would occur before commencement of matches, but they were not prepared to say what duration in weeks that timeframe would be.

End of season – Flexibility to go into May rather than the last weekend of April, but again this would really depend on the starting date of the season.

Possible agreement prior to restarting so that if a 2ndspike forced another curtailment of next season, that the leagues could be awarded based on the percentage of games actually played at that time – details to follow.

The FA will require ALL CLUBS to produce and publish a Risk assessment and/or action plans to ensure they are Covid secure. This is specifically for clubs that are neither “elite” nor “grassroots” and will cover such things as:

Return to full training / matches
Use of facilities including clubhouses, dressing rooms etc
The volunteer workforce at each club

The FA are currently writing a guidance paper on this and it will follow to clubs in the near future.

Ground Grading: The FA have built into the temporary changes to regulations some flexibility regarding ground grading dates, whilst no specific date or rule has been changed, the FA stated that it is “Not the intention to relegate any clubs for work that Covid has meant they have been unable to do.

”Next FA Leagues meeting on July 14th.”

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