Yesterday National League clubs passed an ordinary resolution which settled the playing season on an unweighted Points Per Game basis.
This resolution was very similar to the draft resolutions put to clubs late last week. It did, however, contain a difference in intent, with an allowance for play-offs to take place in the National Leagues North and South should they be possible under Government Guidelines; Health and Safety Guidelines; the DCMS ‘return to train’ and ‘return to play protocols’; and National League rules and policy around proposed play-offs – all yet to be issued and determined.
The ability and willingness of clubs financially to participate in the play-offs, along with the financial burden of monitoring and maintaining adherence to rules and guidelines by the governing body, will naturally depend on what protocols and rules are finalised.
The EFL have issued detailed and thorough protocols and rules around their ‘return to play’ plans and should the National League remain consistent in its willingness to follow EFL policy and decision-making as closely as possible at present, it is reasonable to expect the framework of the EFL rules and protocols will be adopted by the National League.
For our club – who under the resolution passed yesterday would be relegated by the finest of margins (0.002 points) – should play-offs take place in the North and South divisions and four clubs in total are promoted, despite being out of the relegation zone when the season ended, we are still lacking any certainty what the outcome for us will be until play-offs are actually held, or not.
We have made representations to the National League board on behalf of our club and supporters and, like the National League Board, have taken advice and best practice support at every juncture to ensure due process and diligence.
We have always understood each club’s motivation for seeking certain outcomes of the league season and understand clubs’ arguments for fairness. Relegating clubs from one division and not others is certainly inconsistent, and when that relegation is proposed by such tiny mathematical margins for a club that was near the top of the form table and out of the relegation zone when the season ended with eight matches still to play, we understand our supporters’ disappointment and sense of injustice.
We would like to thank our loyal supporters for their patience and understanding, along with our staff and players who feel the effects of uncertainty daily, and will keep working on making our case to the National League board through proper and correct channels.