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Non league club pull out of FA Vase with opponents getting a bye

Non league club Stowmarket Town pull out of the 2020/21 season’s FA Vase with their opponents getting a bye to the Fifth Round.

A statement was published to the Eastern Counties League Premier Division outfit’s social media account, saying that they can no longer go forward in the competition.

They join a list of a whole host of clubs to have removed themselves from the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The Stowmarket Town board of directors have made the difficult decision to withdraw the club from this season’s Buildbase FA Vase.

The recent curtailment of the Thurlow Nunn League season, due to the ongoing national lockdown, has left the Vase, as well as the Suffolk Premier Cup, as the two active competitions left in the current campaign.

Paul Musgrove’s men defeated both Eynesbury Rovers and Norwich CBS at Greens Meadow last December to reach the last 32 of this season’s Vase, where the draw had paired Stow with another home draw against Cobham.

With The FA’s intentions to resume the competition possibly as early as next month, and with fixtures to be played behind closed doors with no paying supporters, the club has taken the decision to pull out due to financial reasons.

Cobham, who will be advancing through to the Fifth Round of the FA Vase, wrote on Twitter: “Not the way anyone wants to get in to the next round but totally understandable in this pandemic year. Cobham will go through to the 5th round. Best wishes to all at @stowtownfc”

The draw for the Fourth Round stage was made on the 21st of December 2020 and was originally scheduled for the 9th of January 2021.

The Fourth Round Proper ties were postponed due to the pandemic and on the 11th of March 2021, the date was agreed for ties to be taken place on the 17th of April 2021.


Shildon (9) – Warrington Rylands (9)
North Ferriby (10) – West Auckland Town (9)
Hebburn Town (9) – Liversedge (9)
Stourport Swifts (9) – Walsall Wood (9)
Congleton Town (9) – Malvern Town (10)
Long Eaton United (9) – Westfields (9)
Anstey Nomads (9) – Wellingborough Town (9)
Mulbarton Wanderers (10) – Hanworth Villa (9)
Leighton Town (9) – Guildford City (9) or Walton & Hersham (10)
Lancing (9) – Flackwell Heath (9)
Fakenham Town (10) – Deal Town (9) or Binfield (9)
BYE – Cobham (9)
Sutton Common Rovers (9) – Hadley (9)
Plymouth Parkway (9) or Fareham Town (9) – Clevedon Town (9)
United Services Portsmouth (10) – Christchurch (9)
Bridgwater Town (9) – Tavistock (9)

Fans reacted as non league club Stowmarket Town pull out of FA Vase with their opponents getting a bye…

@favasefactfile: Sad to hear this news, but best of luck for the future

@Jrodbad: Sucks to hear this. Wonder if there’s a way I can support them monetarily from the US.

@Markjarvis50: Crikey, last 32 not played for months… surely players desperate to play for nothing…

@kengriffin13: Sorry to hear that

@NonLeagueMaps: This is sad news. Have the FA confirmed that the FA Vase will be behind closed doors? I may be wrong but I was under the impression that no announcement had been made in relation to fans at non-elite level (Steps 3 to 6)

@ImNotBitter4: I think it’s sound reasoning once the players start training they come off furlough and with no positive idea that fans and hospitality will be aloud then it’s not worth the risk, the big picture has to be looked at not just for @stowtownfc but all clubs in a similar position

@NonLeagueMaps: I’m not sure on the specifics for @stowtownfc but I think it will be a lot simpler for many other clubs @ Steps 5 & 6 who have few if any players contracted. It does highlight why certain clubs would want to play games in Spring and why others feel they are unable to.

@TeamLaurenLou: Shocked !! You had a fantastic chance of progressing in a national competition

@TeamLaurenLou: Wrong decision in my opinion

@khfk07: Consequence of irresponsible levels of spending in trying to buy their way out of the league

@LiamChickBA: But prize money????

@SteveP_1969: It’s £1875 winners & £600 losers. Dont know what their budget is but maybe without any other source of income that’s not enough?

@mjwhoopsa: So the last Vase game I went to in December, the capacity was 1200 & the attendance 223. Beer gardens,shops open in April but not safe to stand around a football pitch ? It’s far safer than a queue at the supermarket check out.

@LewisHenson19: If spectators are not allowed, I think this season’s FA Vase, should be completed next season, as spectators must be allowed to watch the games. If it gets completed this season with no spectators, clubs get prize money which would surely cover the costs involved with no losses.

@MarkVanMan72: There’s no real need to start of again now or in April. This could be all played in August. Remember, half would go out on August 7th, then they could start their league fixtures/ FA Cup qualifiers.

@RussWWFC: Just scrap the thing if the little hitlers want to play it behind closed doors.

SEE MORE: Non league Twitter spat embroils over controversial FA Vase decision

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