Ebbsfleet United's game at Bath City postponed as home club insist "we do not intend to play league fixtures until further notice while the future of the season remains uncertain"
BATH CITY have told Ebbsfleet United that they will not fulfil the Vanarama National League South fixture between the two sides at Twerton Park tomorrow.
A statement from the board at Bath City said: “The Board of Bath City FC would like to make known that, with the unanimous backing of the Bath City Supporters Society Committee and overwhelming support at the Supporter Q&A on Wednesday evening, it has unanimously decided to vote for the National League motions 1, 3 and 4 that would lead to the cessation of the 2020/21 season.
“The Club does this on the basis of having been presented with a purely binary choice of cessation or continuation and believes there were other options that should have been discussed. These options include a longer suspension of play to allow for a more concerted campaign to push for grants not loans and to allow meaningful time to apply for any grant and understand if it was successful, or the choice for clubs to withdraw from the season.
“As you know we budgeted sensibly for the season as advised by the League and using the many years of cumulative experience at the Club and we accepted grants on the understanding they would be extended after three months to enable clubs to finish the season.
“The Club has now also informed Ebbsfleet United and the League Board that we will not be playing this Saturday’s league fixture. We do not intend to play league fixtures until further notice while the future of the season remains uncertain.
“Over the past three years, Bath City FC has made concerted efforts to become a sustainable Club, by growing attendances and commercial revenues, and making better use of our ground as a source of rental income. Losses have reduced from (£139k) in 2017/18 to (£62k) in 2018/19 and to just (£20k) in 2019/20.
"Everyone at the Club from the manager and players to officials and, especially, the supporters and volunteers, has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can have a viable Club for years to come.
"We also have a £1m debt that we aim to clear via the redevelopment project, but this has been delayed by the planning issues. On that basis we are not prepared to take on new debt to complete this season nor play matches while we await the outcome of the voting.
“We are deeply sorry it has come to this, but we feel we have been given no choice by the League process and the realities of the situation we are in. We would like to thank Jerry Gill, the staff and players for their understanding – like them we would much rather be playing football and look forward to when it is once again viable to do so.”
An Ebbsfleet United statement said: “We have been advised by the league that Bath City FC have chosen not to fulfil their fixture tomorrow.
“The past two weeks have been full of uncertainty and we would like to acknowledge and thank all of our staff, players and volunteers for their understanding whilst we await confirmation of matches at late notice. Importantly, we would like to thank our supporters for continued understanding during a very difficult season.
“Our match on January 23rd against Chelmsford was postponed the day before due to the two-week season suspension, and now tomorrow’s match with similar short notice.
“We have reached out to Bath City all week seeking updates and this morning offered support for their operational costs in order to proceed with tomorrow’s fixture.
“The National League have been clear and given guidance all week around this weekend’s fixtures. Bath City have made the decision to not play, and we respect each club ultimately will make those decisions as they see fit.
“We have made efforts to rearrange future fixtures for tomorrow; however, the short notice has proven prohibitive and this has not been possible.
“We await news on our home fixture versus Slough Town scheduled for Tuesday evening.
“Our position has remained consistent that we feel the season should continue and we have voted accordingly in the League resolutions.
“It is our hope that the voting process will be completed urgently so that clarity is achieved.”