National League season certain to start late

The start date for the 2020/2021 National League season will “inevitably” have to be changed, it has been announced.

The new campaign is due to start on August 8 but will more than likely have to be put back due to the ongoing pandemic.

In a letter sent to clubs, National League chief executive, Mike Tattersall, said: “The start date for the 2020/21 season officially remains as 8 August 2020, but this will inevitably need to be reviewed and updated.

“In establishing a new commencement date, the board will be guided by The FA, the season dates decided for the EFL, the views of member clubs and the plans of the rest of the National League system.”

Mr Tattersall also indicated that the new season will not start if games have to be played behind closed doors.

“As it stands, it is assumed that it is not practical and sustainable to commence the new season if matches are to be played behind closed doors,” he added. “If this view is not shared by your club or you have a comment to make on this matter, please do get in touch.”

In terms of the current campaign, the FA Council has agreed to extend the National League season so that the play-offs can go ahead if at all possible.

At the moment, the National League is waiting for the EFL to reach a conclusion with regards to what happens in their divisions, particularly League Two, before deciding its own outcomes.

It is likely the National League play-offs will have to be scrapped if there is no relegation from League Two but the EFL is keen for promotions and relegations to stand.

Mr Tattersall added: “The National League is in regular dialogue with the EFL and they remain supportive of maintaining promotion and relegation with the National League at the end of 2019/20.”

If the play-offs do go ahead they will be played behind closed doors, Mr Tattersall confirmed.

Finally, the National League is working with the FA and the EFL on plans for getting players back in training.


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