Brian Barwick reveals why he is standing down as National League chairman ahead of key vote
Brian Barwick has revealed he is to stand down as chairman of the National League.
It comes ahead of a vote of National League clubs over a motion no confidence against the league’s board and chairman Barwick.
Maidstone United tabled the proposal last week and it was seconded by fellow National League South club Dorking Wanderers.
The 66 member clubs across the league’s three divisions were initially given until midday last Wednesday to state their intention – but this was extended to Monday lunchtime.
The North East’s National League North quartet of Blyth Spartans, Darlington, Gateshead and Spennymoor Town and National League promotion challengers Hartlepool United are yet to go public with their decision.
The move comes in the wake of a year of controversy in non-league’s top two tiers as the National League made a number of controversial decisions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The league has received criticism throughout the last 12 months for their ‘unfair and unjustified’ distribution of National Lottery funding and the chaos caused by a row over clubs requiring to apply for Sport England loans to complete their season after confusion over whether more funding would be made available.
Maidstone and Dorking described the league’s handling of the crisis as “questionable” in a letter dispatched to clubs across all three divisions in the aftermath of the league’s decision to fine 17 clubs for failing to fulfill fixtures as the outcome of a vote over how to complete the season was outstanding.
However, it has now been revealed Barwick is to stand down.
Speaking today to The Times, Barwick said: “I’m very comfortable about my decision. It’s a time of life thing. I’ve done this for six years and I’ve had a great time doing it. I wanted to give something back to the sport.
“But the last 12 months have been the most difficult in my career. I’ve been trying my very best, as has everyone else, to get through this crisis. It blew us out of the water. There will be some who think we’ve done a good job and some who don’t.
“I decided over Christmas that it was time for me to step down. I’m 67 in June and I’ve been around sport and sports broadcasting since 1979. I formally told the board at our February meeting. They were surprised and very supportive, and they’d love me to stick around.
“But I just thought, you know what, it is the right time. I was determined out of a sense of duty to see this season through. I will stay until the end of the season. I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s morally right that they can prepare for the future.
“But if I’m honest it’s been tough. I am a part-time, non-executive chair who for the last 12 months has worked for 365 days.”
The board is due to meet this Thursday, after which there is due to be an announcement that Barwick is stepping down at the end of the season, report The Times.