The Northern League have released a statement following an emergency meeting of the League Management Committee.
The statement reads as follows:
A further emergency meeting of the League Management Committee has been held to discuss the responses from clubs to the Government’s changes to the Tier Three restrictions, which allows up to 150 spectators to attend NLS fixtures at Steps 5/6 but still maintains the existing restrictions on use of clubhouses and whether this would allow a possible resumption of fixtures following this week’s national tier review.
A number of clubs were prepared to resume league fixtures with effect from Saturday 19th December 2020 and attempt to carry on under what are extremely challenging Tier Three restrictions. Some clubs have been told by their local councils that they are not permitted to sell refreshments. The majority of clubs indicated that it wasn’t financially viable for them to play games with attendances set at 150. Without any income from food and beverages, clubs would still have significant levels of expenditure with no grants being made available to cover any deficit.
Some clubs felt that a change to Tier Two restrictions allowing attendances to rise to 300 could allow a return, but any such decision is now unlikely to come before Thursday or possibly later this week. As a consequence the LMC has decided to postpone this weekend’s fixtures. Should the region remain in Tier Three the situation would be reviewed again by the LMC on Monday 4th January 2021 with a possible resumption date of Saturday 9th January; but if there were any unexpected easing of restrictions before then, the situation will be reviewed to see if an earlier return may be possible.
The committee fully understands and shares the frustration at the situation we find ourselves in and we are grateful for the patience of officials, volunteers, players and spectators. In the meantime we will be writing to all the relevant local authorities to see if they are willing to address the issue of the sale of refreshments at grounds in their area, as this provides such crucial revenue for clubs.
Tier Three restrictions limit the number of spectators to 150, with Tier Two the limit is set at 300 for our clubs.
Saturday’s FA Vase tie at home to Shildon will go ahead as planned.