National League System Update from the FA – 26th March
We have been working collaboratively with the National League System (NLS), the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game since the outbreak of COVID-19 on how to conclude the 2019-20 season in the most appropriate way possible.
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.
National League System
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 (NLS steps one and two) 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.
The FA, FA Women’s Board members and the Women’s Football Conference have consulted and reached a consensus regarding the women’s football pyramid.
The FA and the leagues within tiers three to seven have reached a consensus to bring the season to an immediate end and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between tiers three to seven. Agreement has also been reached to end the Regional Talent Clubs season, which was due to conclude in April 2020.
We remain in consultation with the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship Board and clubs regarding the most appropriate way to complete the current season, including for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League Academy.
With the 2019-20 Emirates FA Cup, Women’s FA Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase all at advanced stages, we are reviewing all options as we seek to complete these competitions whenever it is safe and appropriate to do so. Clubs involved are close to reaching a major final and for those clubs and supporters we will do all we can to keep the Wembley dream alive.
In respect of The FA Youth Cup, The FA County Youth Cup, The FA Sunday Cup and The FA Inter-League Cup, we are also seeking to complete these competitions if it is feasible to do so.
We will also continue planning for FA competitions to take place for the 2020-21 season.
In light of today’s announcement by the FA, the Souther Counties East Football League have called an emergency Board meeting to discuss all outstanding matters not covered by the above statement from the FA.