The FA has been working collaboratively with the National League System [NLS], the Women’s Football Pyramid and the wider grassroots game since the outbreak of COVID-19 on how to conclude the 2019/20 season in the most appropriate way possible.
These are challenging circumstances for English football and all decisions taken are in the best interests of the game and in consultation across key stakeholders. Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time.
Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided, with the integrity of the Leagues in mind.
National League System
The NLS and the Women’s Football Pyramid were able to build a consensus amongst their leagues and, where possible, aimed to create a consistent approach across all leagues, whilst taking into account the unique characteristics of each individual league.
As a result, The FA and NLS Steps 3 to 6 have reached a consensus that their 2019/20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS Steps 3 to 6, and no promotion to NLS Step 2.
These decisions will also apply to the Leagues and clubs who play at NLS Step 7.
The National League [NLS Steps 1 and 2] have agreed that they want to attempt to complete the competition in line with the Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and Emirates FA Cup and are therefore seeking permission from The FA that the season for this level will be extended beyond 1 June 2020 indefinitely.
The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will also now be deferred until the start of the 2021/22 season.
Furthermore, we can now confirm that The FA has decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019/20 season. This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season. CFAs will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions.
(Somerset FA will make a decision about County Cup Competitions and communicate this in due course)
Where appropriate, the above decisions will be put to The FA Council for ratification.
Throughout this period The FA continues to seek guidance in respect of the Government’s financial support packages relative to COVID-19 and how they are applicable to clubs in the NLS, the Women’s Football Pyramid and the wider grassroots game.
In the women’s game, The FA, FA Women’s Board members and the Women’s Football Conference have consulted and reached a consensus regarding the Women’s Football Pyramid.
The FA and the Leagues within Tiers 3 to 7 have reached a consensus to bring the season to an immediate end and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between Tiers 3 to 7. Agreement has also been reached to end the Regional Talent Clubs season, which was due to conclude in April 2020.
We remain in consultation with the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship Board and clubs regarding the most appropriate way to complete the current season; including the Barclays FA Women’s Super League Academy.
With the Emirates FA Cup, Women’s FA Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase 2019/20 all at advanced stages, The FA is reviewing all options as we seek to complete these competitions whenever it is safe and appropriate to do so. Clubs involved are close to reaching a major Final and for those clubs and supporters we will do all we can to keep the Wembley dream alive.
In respect of The FA Youth Cup, The FA County Youth Cup, The FA Sunday Cup and The FA Inter-League Cup, we are also seeking to complete these competitions if it is feasible to do so.
The FA will also continue planning for FA Competitions to take place for the 2020/21 season.
Please note this is for Grassroots only and any question concerning FA Discipline should be forwarded to The FA.
Will CFA’s be refunding monies for County Discipline cases during the season.
No. The Sanctions imposed are as a result of misconduct committed and are not dependent on the completion of a season. This would be a similar scenario to matches abandoned where the game has not completed but the sanctions remain.
Will outstanding suspensions be waived?
As per the regulations any suspension outstanding following the last competitive fixture will be served at the commencement of the next season. On that basis any suspension that remains outstanding will be served at the commencement of competitive football.
It should also be remembered that there are still some Cup Competitions (including some County Cups), that still hope to be operating, depending on Government restrictions/advice, this season. Any suspension in place will still be in operation for these matches.
Are Fines CFAs are owed going to get paid
Outstanding fines will be recovered by CFAs in due course
WGS is still producing fines that roll over automatically, do these need altering / turning off?
IT have already stopped the production of late fines so no further late payments or Club/Team suspensions are imposed as a result of non-payment. This is being taken to reflect the pressures of the volunteer workforce within Clubs that will clearly have other priorities at this time.
Will teams be penalised for having excessive discipline points at the end of the season (e.g. now or will they be removed)
With the lack of games being played it is unlikely that any team will be surpassing the threshold from now. For those that have, this falls into the category of sanctions committed referred to above.
What is the position on hearing current misconduct cases? Is there any special advice for panels to consider as mitigation when concluding appropriate sanctions?
Guidance has previously been issued to Counties – No Personal hearings are to be held at this stage in line with Government guidance – CFA’s are to ask Clubs if they want to proceed on papers – They can then be held by WebEx. If the Participants want a Personal Hearing – they will be heard when restrictions are relaxed
Should league appeals relating to this season still be heard?
Yes – by WebEx where possible and on papers only.
Like all matters concerning Covid19, the above is the current position with the situation that we know, all discipline matters will be constantly under review as we learn more over the coming weeks.