More than 60 clubs have written to the Football Association to condemn the governing body’s “needless and inexplicable haste” in voiding the non-league season following the coronavirus outbreak.
In a joint letter the clubs – part of tiers three to six of the men’s National League System and tiers three to seven of the women’s – have called on the FA to reconsider the decision and engage “urgently in constructive dialogue” over an alternative.
The decision to void the season below the second tier of non-league football was taken by the FA on 26 March but is yet to be confirmed by its council.
The 64 clubs who have expressed discontent include South Shields, Halesowen Town and AFC Liverpool. They say the voiding of the season could have profound sporting and financial implications and that they were not afforded proper consultation.
“We urge the FA to reconsider its decision and to slow down the whole process,” the letter says, “offering proper consultation with afflicted leagues and clubs as the picture becomes clearer, before deciding a way forward.
“We stand ready to play our full part to help achieve a fair outcome allowing the integrity of England’s football pyramid to be upheld in such a period of national adversity.”
The letter notes the contrast between the approach taken with the bottom of football’s pyramid and its summit, where the FA, EFL and Premier League have worked together to take an iterative response to the crisis. All league football is suspended until 30 April, with governing bodies and clubs set to address the situation again this week.
“We ask only that the same logic be applied to our leagues that is being applied in the rest of the NLS and the EFL,” the letter says. “Clubs including Jersey Bulls and Vauxhall Motors have already mathematically secured promotion – what are the grounds for them not to get promoted this season?”
In response to the letter the FA said the decision to void this year’s competition had been taken by the leagues themselves and took into account the financial impact as well as the sporting implications.
“The decision was made by committee representatives for the respective leagues and was supported by the FA board and the FA women’s board,” a spokesperson said. “It will now go to the FA council for ratification. We fully support the decision they came to during these challenging and unprecedented circumstances for English football.”