FA Statement: As a best case we must plan for a “normal” start, however unlikely this may be. Beyond this, we are planning for monthly restarts up until early 2021

Monday 18th May 2020

An update was sent by The Football Association to all Step Five and Step Six football clubs (the Southern Counties East Football League Premier and First Divisions):


“Thank you to all League’s for their continued support, engagement and thoughts as we all try to find our way through this unprecedented period of time for everyone in the game.

Many of the challenges we face has no precedent nor expert and we appreciate that you will all be searching for answers and we are working hard through the best solutions.

When we have more understanding of the Government changes to lockdown, social distancing and/or mass gatherings, and how this may impact the National League System, we will endeavour to communicate and work with you as best we can.”

2020-21 Season

“The FA Executive are working on behalf of the Alliance and League’s Committee to work through as many scenarios for returning to play as possible, based on the information we have at this stage.

We are sure like all of us we have been reading and trying to understand the implications of the Government lock down exit strategy for Football at all levels of our game.

Along with guidance for sport, we must be mindful that this needs linking to guidance of gatherings (of all sizes).  It is absolutely critical that we follow rigidly Government guidance and when we have the ability to advise League’s we will do to ensure a consistent approach.

As a best case we must plan for a “normal” start, however unlikely this may be.  Beyond this, we are planning for monthly restarts up until early 2021.

We would urge League’s to consider the impact of delayed starts on their operations, for example the potential need to postpone League Cup’s for a season to open up more opportunities to complete the league fixture programme.

We are understanding of the fact that League’s will be wanting to have finalised constitutions as quickly as possible.  The starting point for all League’s is that 2019-20 Constitutions will roll forward to 2020-21.

With that, we know that there have been withdrawals, during the previous 12 months and we are yet to see the implications that Covid-19 may have on clubs in the National League System.

This has led to some League’s asking for the policy on vacancies.  The Leagues Committee are in the process of finalising its policy on vacancies.

The Leagues Committee are in the process of finalising its policy on how and if vacancies will be addressed.  Once the policy is finalised it will be communicated to the Leagues.

e would however ask Leagues to continue to make us aware of any further withdrawals so that we can amend our draft constitutions at our end.

Steps 1-6 are governed by the Standardised Rules while Step 7/Regional NLS Feeder Leagues fall under the Standard Code of Rules.

The decision to transfer Step 7 to Regional National League System Feeder League will still be undertaken.  As such, the policy for Steps 1-6 on vacancies may be different to Step 7, particularly given that this level will become a feeder league to the National League System from 2020-21.

Taking these factors into account and to allow for flexible approach to the commencement of the 2020-21 season as a result of Covid-19 and the social distancing measures, League’s should plan for constitutions being released at a later date than normal, as once the constitutions are ratified by AGM’s, these cannot be changed.

It therefore essential that flexibility is built into the planning of the 2020-21 season.

We would like to assure Leagues that the constitutions will be released as soon as we are able to and in good time to allow for Leagues to prepare for AGMs and the 2020-21 season.

When League’s are in a position to undertake an AGM to ratify their constitutions, these may need to be undertaken virtually due to lock-down restrictions.”

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