An independent arbitral tribunal has dismissed a legal challenge brought by South Shields FC against the decision of the FA Council to end the season with no promotion or relegation at Steps 3 to 7 of the National League System due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three person panel rejected the club’s arguments in their entirety that the decision was unlawful.
The FA say they are acutely aware that any decision taken in such difficult circumstances would leave some clubs disappointed and say they welcome the findings of the independent tribunal that the decision of the FA Council was taken after due and proper consultation and following careful consideration of the alternative options.
Shields, who led the Northern Premier Division by 12 points at the time of the decision, submitted an appeal on behalf of hundreds of clubs ‘which shared its view that the original decision was flawed and taken without due consultation.’
The club explain: “An arbitration hearing has now been held before a panel and although the judgement insisted it was ‘impossible not to feel sympathy for South Shields’ and similarly affected clubs, the claim was dismissed.
“The club is grateful for all the support it received from a significant number of other clubs in making its legal challenge. The process was very time-consuming and expensive, and the outcome is clearly hugely disappointing.
“Our legal options have now been exhausted, which is a huge disappointment to not just South Shields FC, but the hundreds of other clubs which supported the campaign and saw their own hopes dashed by this decision.”