THE debacle over leagues being cancelled at City and Raiders’ level took another twist with the Football Association (FA) asking for “any communications to be removed” on the matter.

The Essex Senior League today (Tuesday) announced on Twitter that “the FA has confirmed that the season 2019-20 must end immediately” for all leagues at steps five and six of the National League System (NLS) due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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That seemingly meant the end of the road for the likes of Worcester City, Worcester Raiders, Pershore Town, Malvern Town and Stourport Swifts plying their trades in the Midland Football League, West Midlands (Regional) League and Hellenic League.

Officials from the United Counties League (UCL), which also operates at both levels, allegedly told member clubs the same but along with their Essex counterparts deleted the social media posts.

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There are many screenshots of an email attributed to the FA doing the rounds which tells club no such decision has been rubber stamped.

It read: “It has been brought to our attention that communications have been made on Twitter (and possibly other sources) that is the FA’s decision to cancel all step 5/6 football for 2019-20 with immediate effect.

“We would remind leagues that this is not the case at this stage. The meeting this afternoon was to listen to the views of step 5/6 leagues and no decision is to be communicated at this point.

“Can I ask for any communications to be removed with immediate effect.”

Another screengrab of an email posted by UCL club Bourne Town indicated a U-turn by the competition.

The communication, attributed to UCL chairman Alan Poulain, read: “Further my previous email regarding the decision made during the WebEx today, it appears now that I have rather jumped the gun and confirmation on whether the 2019-20 season has ended has yet to be ratified one way or the other.

“Please disregard my previous email and pull any and all communications via Facebook and Twitter until advised.

“I am really sorry for the confusion.”

Tewkesbury Admag:

A copy of the original communication has since been put out and shows similarities to the Essex Senior League statement.

 

 

It had been reported leagues at the level would not play again this season with the thorny issue of whether or not promotion and relegation would go ahead based on current standings the only one to be made by FA chiefs.

Should that come to pass, it seems the two options are to fix the standings on points-per-game ratio – the number of points earned divided by the number of games played – or to scrap the season entirely. 

FA bosses had conference calls with the top four levels last night with leagues at steps five and six consulted in a similar way today.

The Essex Senior League statement read: "Following on from the pre-arranged Webex meeting today with the FA and our colleagues in step five and six leagues, the FA has confirmed that the season 2019-20 must end immediately.

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"The consensus was there is no option of any football being played for the rest of this season due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Even if the FA was to extend, it wasn't going to be possible to complete remaining games, also subject to being allowed to socialise, by May.

"The FA League Committee are to determine the terms of that conclusion, which seems at present to be a 50:50 split between points-per-game promotion and relegation or to null and void the 2019-20 season completely.

"That decision is not (down to) the leagues to make but the FA Leagues Committee.

"Once a decision is conveyed to the leagues it will be consistent across the NLS system.

"If null and void is the FA's decision there will be no promotion or relegation for 2019-20 season."