'The rational decision has prevailed' - Burgess Hill Town chairman on season being curtailed

Burgess Hill Town chairman Kevin Newell says the 'rational decision' has been made.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 7:34 am
Kevin Newell

FA and league officials have agreed the 2020-21 season for all step three to six clubs 'should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season'.

It has looked on the cards since January, when the boards of the Isthmian, Southern and Northern Leagues said they felt the season should be terminated.

Burgess Hill Town chairman Kevin Newell,said: “It now seems almost certain that there will be no football at the More Than Tyres Stadium before August. The start date for next season is still being debated but it is understoood they are favouring an August 7 start.”

Following the government’s announcement on Monday, the earliest clubs could expect spectators would be May 17 and it’s always been the league’s view - and Burgess Hill Town’s view - that playing football behind closed doors is not an option because of income.

Newell added: “Although it’s been discussed about having a mini competition at the end of the season, that idea has been shelved because the amount of time it would take for players to regain match fitness and you have to think of their welfare.

“As a responsible league and a responsible club, we have to put the welfare of the players and spectators ahead of anything else. And we have taken that line from the outset.

“There are few tyrant voices who think football is more important than that but I think rational decision has prevailed.”

But Wednesday night's FA statement - the gist of which was exclusively revealed on this website on Wednesday morning - does raise questions.

There is NO mention of whether the Project Non League proposals - which were to use results from two unfinished seasons to work out points per game tables and promote the top teams - has been considered, or is even still under consideration.

And the statement contains talk of a restructure of steps four (Isthmian south-east), five and six (SCFL premier and division one). If that were to lead to an increase in teams at step four level - perhaps with an extra division in one of the leagues - it raises the question of how teams would earn the right to move up from step five to four.

The FA revealed that three-quarters of clubs who took part in a survey wanted the season scrapped if it could not restart with fans and opened bars and clubhouses by April 1.

This curtailment of the season does still need FA Council ratification, but that is not expected to change anything.