Last Friday evening (18th December) the NPL Board met to review its initial decision to re-start the 2020/21 season with effect from 26th December
The principal issue raised by clubs was that, as a result of the original decision, clubs were effectively being forced to stage competitive fixtures at a financial loss.
The primary outcome of the NPL review was:
Having reviewed its original decision, the League Management Committee (LMC) has now decided that playing league fixtures on Boxing Day 26th Dec and New Year’s Day 01st Jan will now be optional (i.e. by mutual consent between participating clubs) and not compulsory.
We received this notification on Saturday evening as we returned from Brighouse Town. Regrettably, since then Pontefract have withdrawn from our home fixture on New Years Day and Dunston no longer wish to host the game on Boxing Day.
Why has this happened?
Many clubs in our leagues still remain in Tier 3 areas and despite the decision to allow a limited return of fans to these grounds, the impact of lost secondary revenue from clubhouses etc; is both vital and significant. This also applies to clubs in Tier 2 like ourselves. No club can survive simply on the gate money from it’s spectators alone, particularly when we all currently operate on greatly restricted capacities.
Can this be changed?
The NPL have said:
As part of our lobbying of government we continue to press for clubs to be able to open their bars. However, with so many pubs and restaurants closed we have to be realistic. Government simply won’t budge on this point.
Can we re-arrange any games in the meantime?
The board met on Sunday afternoon and there may be the likelihood of arranging alternative matches over the Christmas period. But nothing is confirmed as yet.
When are league games likely to recommence in full?
In the present heightened and ever-changing state of the pandemic. We must await the next Government announcement expected on the 30th December 2020, before the NPL (and subsequently the clubs) can consider the matter again and in full.
When will we know more?
We will update everyone as soon as we know anything further. Thank you for your continued patience and understand.
Please do stay safe over Christmas and we hope to meet everyone again really soon back on the terraces.