Lancaster City boss believes authorities should have waited before deciding to cut short campaign

Mark Fell believes the FA have acted in haste in their decision to declare the Northern Premier League season null and void.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 9:48 am

Clubs from steps three and below within the non-league football pyramid were informed last week that the 2019/20 campaign would not be re-started due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All results have been expunged from the records, which means those clubs vying for promotion would be denied the chance of going up, while teams struggling at the bottom and in danger of the drop have been reprieved.

The decision has a particular effect on the Dolly Blues as they occupy a place in the play-offs and had their eyes on a promotion tilt.

Lancaster City manager Mark Fell. Picture: Tony North

Many clubs have taken the announcement hard with NPL Premier Division leaders South Shields writing a letter to the FA to inform them of their displeasure at the course of action.

The decision has still to be officially ratified by the FA Council, but Fell admits he accepts the authorities were left with little option especially as many clubs had player contracts to pay.

He would, though, have liked to have seen the FA defer their decision f or at least a month to see if there was any possibility of re-starting the season.

“I am just surprised at how quickly they have done it,” said Fell.

“I don’t think it would have hurt anyone to wait another month to see w hat was happening.

“I understand the rationale behind it.

“The rationale was that chairman did not want to pay contracted players anymore and wanted to be protected.

“The FA could have put something out to all registered players and said it’s effectively a pause.

“There is all this legislation around furloughs, contracts and all this sort of stuff.

“There are ways around it. We are working with all our contracted playersso that we have a fair resolution.”

Fell is disappointed that all of his players’ hard of his players’ hard work has gone to waste this season, especially as they have won through to the final of the LFA Challenge Trophy, which has been scheduled for Wigan Athletic’s DW Stadium.

There are doubts that final against Bamber Bridge will go-ahead now, although the club will lobby hard for it to be played at some point, maybe in pre-season.

“We have been told there will be a decision made on the county cup finals this week,” said Fell.

“There is no real reason why they could not play them in pre-season.

“But how many players are going to be here then.

“We could potentially have players who will retire or move on; loan players will go back to their clubs.

“We will have the natural wastage which comes at a non-league club during the off-season.

“It’s going to be a shame for those lads who may not be at the club if that cup final still happens.

“A cup final on a Football League ground potentially will be the biggest highlight of many of my players’ careers and they could miss out on that.

“But we will be lobbying the LFA hard so that the final does get played at some point.”