Dulwich Hamlet’s 2020-21 season is over after National League South was declared null and void following a majority outcome after votes by clubs in the sixth tier.
More National League South clubs voted to continue the season (12-9) but the vote to end their season was carried by a majority of National League North clubs (15-7) meaning more than the required minimum 51 per cent overall majority was reached.
The National League passed with a majority to continue their season (7-13) but it remains to be seen what route the seven clubs that voted to end it will take.
It brings to an end the latest tumultuous period in the history of the Hamlet, who had said they wanted to fulfill their remaining fixtures this season but wouldn’t risk plunging the club into debt by incurring costs to play games with no gate income. They also highlighted the risk of players and staff contracting Covid-19.
The club risked punishments which could have included fines, a points deduction or even expulsion and they were charged by the National League after they didn’t fulfill recent fixtures.
Chairman Ben Clasper outlined the situation in the News earlier this month.
“Almost every other club supports the stance [to end the season], but a tiny minority will quite happily beat everyone up and bankrupt people by forcing them all to play.
“In the middle you’ve got clubs that have the means to continue but don’t want to see damage to others, and Dulwich Hamlet are in the boat of we want to carry on but we can’t. If we do, we’ll get into debt, and the league’s rules state that if you have insufficient funds to finish a season, they can expel you. We’re already in that position.
“There’s no way we can comply with the league’s Catch-22, so the only rule we’re going to abide by is to protect the long-term future of the football club.”
Hamlet boss Gavin Rose had fully backed the board’s stance. “It was a joint decision,” he told the News. “[Hamlet chairman] Ben [Clasper] had asked me my position on it and we were all of the same mindset that we don’t want to ask the players to play football without being able to give them their wages, something that I’m very staunch about, as they’re putting themselves at risk with the virus and injury.”