Seasons over for Fisher, Peckham, Lionesses – as Gary Neville expresses confusion at FA decision

Sports Desk (26 March, 2020)

The decision has been taken as the country deals with extra measures amid the coronavirus pandemic

32334Fisher's St Paul's in Rotherhithe

The seasons of Fisher, Millwall Lionesses, Peckham Town and Peckham Rye are over after the Football Association announced on Thursday that it was bringing an end to the 2019-20 campaign with all results expunged.

After talks with National League System representatives amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FA decided to end the seasons of clubs from Steps 3-7 (which includes the Isthmian leagues, the SCEFL and Kent County League) of English football.

It is a decision that has confused Gary Neville, the former Manchester United and England defender who is part owner of Salford, a club that came up through those steps in the English football pyramid and are currently in the National League.

There will be no promotion or relegation between Steps 3-6, and no promotion to Step 2, including National Leagues North and South.

Fisher said they expected the decision.

The Lionesses will remain in the ERWFL Division One South, Peckham in the Kent County League Premier Division, and the Rye in the Woolwich and Eltham Sunday Football Alliance.

A decision has yet to be taken on the National League seasons, meaning Dulwich Hamlet, in National League South, are still in limbo.

The FA said: “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.

“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 three to six 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 three to six, and no promotion to NLS step two.

“These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS step seven.

“We will continue to assist and support the National League to determine the outcome of its 2019-20 season as quickly as possible. 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 we have 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. Our County Football Associations (CFAs) will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions.

“Where appropriate, the above decisions will be put to The FA Council for ratification.

“Throughout this period we continue 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.”

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