National League clubs waiting on board decision over play-off promotion issue

The National League board is yet to make a decision on how play-off promotion issues will be determined, with clubs left waiting for answers.
Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.
Victoria Park, home of Hartlepool United.

The 2019-20 campaign was cancelled on April 22 following the suspension of all football due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league asked clubs in the National League, and representatives from the National League North and National League South, to vote on whether the current season should be scrapped after the outbreak of COVID-19 saw all fixtures suspended.

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And they confirmed that a ‘clear majority’ of clubs had voted to cancel the season immediately – meaning no more fixtures will be played this season.

Hartlepool United saw their fixtures cancelled from March 16 onwards, but now face several more months without football as uncertainty reigns.

Pools finished the season in 9th, three points outside the play-off places and so the club is preparing for a fourth season in the fifth tier having failed to win promotion since dropping out of the football league pyramid.

The National League board wrote to clubs in the National League and National League North and South at the end of last week to provide an update and they confirmed 16 clubs in the National League were in favour of cancelling the season, five against with no responses from three clubs.

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The board has also consulted with clubs over how to decide play-off issues.

A letter to clubs seen by the Mail, read: “The National League board received responses from a total of 65 clubs (out of 68).”

It said there was a mix of responses in terms of clubs being in favour of either postponing or cancelling the play-offs.

The letter added: “The Board has reviewed and discussed the responses but has not yet proceeded with a decision either to cancel or postpone the play-offs in any division as they are awaiting further information and guidance from the FA and the EFL which may well inform that decision.

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“The Board may also require further legal advice and will review any decisions made concerning government restrictions.”

Meanwhile, West Auckland Town have signed former Hartlepool United defender Evan Horwood.

Ex-Carlisle and Pools defender Horwood previously had a spell at Whitby Town.