The 2019/20 Southern Combination Football League (SCFL) season is now all but over, with just FA Council approval needed to officially confirm it.
The SCFL Chairman, Steve Nealgrove, released a statement to club Chairmen and secretaries today confirming that the current season will not resume.
How the season is concluded is not yet known, with league Chairmen seemingly split on whether to null and void all records or complete the season by applying the points per game average to league tables.
This could have an impact on the future of Newhaven FC, as applying the points per game average sees them sitting second in the Premier Division. A non-league restructure was due to take place in the summer of this year and a certain amount of second placed sides at Step 5 were due to be promoted or made to play-off against a team from Step 4 in a relegation play-off place.
So all eyes will be on the announcement that follows, although that may take a little time to be ratified and finalised by the FA.
The full statement from the SCFL is as follows:
“As you will be aware, on Tuesday I took part in a WebEx FA meeting with the Chairmen of Step 5 & 6 leagues, also present were members of the FA Leagues Committee, representatives of Leagues at steps 3 & 4 and several other FA members.
At the start of the meeting FA Leagues Committee Chairman Mark Frost made a statement to the meeting and announced that a decision had been taken and the current season 2019/20 will not resume. No further matches will now take place.
It is hoped that by announcing this now it will give club’s an early indication and allow clubs to plan their annual maintenance to go ahead. However, it was also stated that the IOG (Institute of Groundsmanship) have instructed the groundsmen who are their members that they should not be working on grounds at this time given the government’s latest instructions.
From the step 5 & 6 leagues also at Step 3 & 4 there was no clear mandate upon how to complete the season. There is roughly a 50-50 split between those wanting to expunge the season and those wanting to apply the points per game to the league table.
The FA want to make a global and consistent ruling which applies across the NLS and have taken the feedback from today away to help make their decision. No clear timescale exists for that decision, but the FA are aware that clubs and leagues need a decision ASAP.
There was also talk about the financial difficulties facing clubs in this current situation and instruction was for clubs to contact the government, either locally or centrally, to obtain the assistance already published in the media. However, we are asking the FA to provide full guidance upon how this should be achieved there was no indication from the FA at this time that there would be any financial assistance from the FA, that is not to say that this may change in the future.
It was also announced that the ground grading deadline for clubs wishing to be promoted or retain their status would be moved back from 31st March to the 31st July.
The FA will be communicating this decision in detail separately.
As we receive further information from the FA, we will share this with you at the earliest opportunity.
I also need to make it clear that the decision to halt the season needs FA Council approval which will take a little time to obtain.
So, although the FA announced this as their intent, it still needs ratification and is not finalised yet.
We will inform you all as soon as we have that confirmation.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you that responded to our request for your club’s view on how the season should be resolved. Disappointingly 3 clubs failed to reply but many thanks to the 46 that did.
Below are the results of the responses from 46 clubs. Several clubs also suggested additional options which I have passed on.
Option 1 – 19 = 41.3% – Expunge the season
Option 2 – 4 = 8.7% – Freeze the current table
Option 3 – 13 = 28.26% – Complete the table using a points per game basis
Option 4 – 12 = 26.09% – Play the season to a finish
3 clubs never returned their views.
We have all now entered unprecedented times. It goes without saying that these are difficult personal and business times for all of us I hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well.
Please keep an eye on the website and social media channels for the latest updates when we get them.