EBAC Northern League have confirmed in a statement that they would prefer to abandon the current season and declare the campaign null and void.
The announcement comes as clubs today received a survey from English Football Association (FA) asking for their views on how best to conclude the 2020-21 season.
All leagues from Non-League Steps three to six downwards in the football pyramid are currently suspended since the UK Government announced a third national lockdown on 4 January 2021, although some leagues including the Northern League were halted in preceding weeks due to tier four restrictions.
Tonight, the EBAC Northern League’s League Management Committee (LMC) met to discuss the survey, in which they agreed with the FA Leagues committee that any resumption of this season should occur when all clubs can admit paying fans at 30% of the minimum stadium grading requirement.
Clubs must also be able to access secondary income streams like bar income and etc. which mirrored the overall view of Northern League clubs in a recent survey conducted by the league, of which the results were sent to the FA.
Northern League’s LMC members however considered declaring the current season null and void as the ‘only viable option’ after evaluating all the options and potential implications for member clubs in current circumstances.
Other possibilities considered within the survey was deciding promotion, play-offs and relegation on a points-per-game (PPG) basis, completing the season until 31 May 2021 at latest or just concluding the season no matter what even if meant delaying the start of next season with potentially no promotion.
All clubs were also given options of benchmarks for leagues to be eligible to use PPG if season resumes, but only if either 66% or 75% of fixtures in the campaign were completed by 31 May 2021.
The LMC instead aims to focus on getting a complete 2021-22 season done from August 2021, although there are plans for a potential cup competition should the situation improve by April at latest, in an attempt to enable clubs to recoup lost income and re-engage with supporters if safe to do so.
As things stand, Hebburn, Stockton Town and Consett occupy the current promotion positions in Northern League Division One subject to the season resuming from March at the earliest, whilst Easington Colliery currently top Division Two.