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National League North and South clubs vote to null and void season

Clubs in the National League North and South have voted to null and void the 2020/21 season, with the National League division set to continue.

National League North and South clubs vote to null and void season

Step two of non-league football will now cease with immediate effect after a vote of 24-19 determined the outcome of the current season as financial implications continue to have a detrimental impact in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the National League, clubs voted 7-13 against declaring the season null and void, meaning that it will continue for the rest of the season, despite two teams not having cast their vote yet, however, the result cannot be altered.

The next steps will involve the National League taking the decision to the FA board for ratification, where promotion and relegation will also be discussed.

Clubs in the leagues received a cash injection from the National Lottery in October but it was not deemed enough to support teams over the turbulent season.

17 clubs called for a season curtailment in last month unless funding was provided to help towards funding coronavirus testing and the offset of losses.

Dorking Wanderers, current league leaders in the National League South, have said they will appeal the decision to the FA, with owner Marc White saying in a statement: "We did not feel that a vote was necessary. Instead we felt that a much more collaborative approach was required given the very difficult circumstances people found themselves in.

"We felt that during the recent suspension it would have been a perfect opportunity to work alongside clubs to understand how the competition could be completed."

The decision made by the National League clubs has been made with the consideration of finances at the forefront but it is important to consider the player care cost that comes with a null and voided season.

The financial situation of many clubs may force the release of more players who rely on the wages from their respective teams.

Furthermore, many youth players and other players on the rosters of English Football League sides have joined National League North and South clubs on loan this season and it remains unclear how this will impact their development with the likelihood of incurring considerably less game time than that in which they would have done.

National League side Chesterfield and their manager James Rowe have stated that this provides a unique opportunity for clubs in the division to "maybe take the better players in the two (leagues) below on loan," suggesting that could be beneficial for players who have impressed so far this season.

The announcement made yesterday looks to have brought to an end the debate over the near future of the league's but the argument and fallout look more than likely to continue.

Author: Jake Wilkin