The Isthmian League has mapped out plans for the return of football at Steps 3 and 4.
Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson has written to all member clubs to map out the way they return to football – as soon as the Government gives the go-ahead.
A League statement said: “In his letter, Nick explains that The FA have made a number of proposals to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and that these have been well received but that the final decision about our big kick-off will need to come from central Government.
“Dependent on when those decisions are made, we have five or six scenarios.”
Steps Three and Four season starts on 19 September, finishes 8 May with Play-Offs the following week. Deadline for decision – Friday 21 August.
If it is not possible to start on 19 September, 26 September is FA Trophy, so…
Steps Three and Four season starts on 3 October, finishes 15 May with Play-Offs the following week. Deadline for decision – Friday 4 September.
If it is not possible to start on 3 October…
Steps Three and Four season starts on 10 October, finishing 15 May. No Play-Offs: top two clubs promoted. Deadline for decision – Friday 11 September.
Steps Three and Four season starts on 17 October, finishing 15 May. No Play-Offs: top two clubs promoted. Deadline for decision – Friday 18 September.
If it is not possible to start on 17th October…
Scenario Five is subject to FA regulatory approval and will require changes to the NLS Regulations and Standardised Rules, which also require FA Council approval.
Deadline for decision – TBC.
“At this point a full fixture programme is not possible without unreasonable levels of midweek and away travel. So, each Step Three and Four division is split into two smaller divisions, every club playing each other home and away to create a ‘half’ season, at the end of which, the split divisions are re-merged based on points per game.
The top five clubs will then play a Champions League style round-robin (ideally home and away) with the top two clubs promoted.
“The lowest ranked five will play each other, home and away, with the necessary number of clubs (i.e. reflecting withdrawals or resignations) being relegated. Clubs not featuring in Champion or Relegation Play-Offs will be able to enter a voluntary cup competition.”
“We hope we won’t need a Scenario Six, but if it is not possible to start until January 2021, The Alliance Committee will determine if and how the season will be played out following consultation with the member clubs of the Northern Premier League, Southern Football League and the Isthmian League by the Leagues. Any decision of the Alliance Committee and subsequent changes to the NLS Regulations and Standardised Rules will require the approval of FA Council.
“All of the above is subject to change, because nothing about the situation we are living through at the moment can ever be certain. What we can confirm to you is that the Leagues and the FA continue to pressure DCMS to approve the return of paying fans for the league seasons to start on 19 September, and to confirm any limitations around this that they require.”
These plans have been echoed by the Northern and Southern League.