NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Soham Town Rangers’ league call for season to be terminated immediately

PUBLISHED: 09:52 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:52 25 March 2020

Soham Town Rangers players celebrate a goal during their FA Trophy win against Bury Town this season. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

Soham Town Rangers players celebrate a goal during their FA Trophy win against Bury Town this season. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

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The Isthmian League has called for the football season to be terminated with immediate effect.

The league – in which Soham Town Rangers play at Division One North level – want the 2019/20 campaign officially halted with the country gripped by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Isthmian League and their fellow Step 3 and Step 4 competitions - the Northern Premier League and the Southern League - are united in this stance.

A statement revealed: “The Alliance Leagues held the latest of several conference calls on Monday night after our own board, and those of the Northern Premier and Southern Leagues, met over the weekend to determine how we wish to proceed. We have also participated in calls with the Step 5/6 clubs.

“The Step 3 & 4 Leagues share clubs’ frustration that it is taking so long to determine whether the 2019/20 season is to end now, and if so on what basis.

“To maintain the integrity of our competitions, we ideally need to apply one solution across the whole of the National League System. However, this may not be possible.

“The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues are unanimous in wanting to terminate the 2019-20 season immediately. The Step 5/6 Leagues also support the immediate termination of the season.

“Whether that is done on the basis of determining final placings via average points per game, or the season is declared null and void cannot be determined until the National League decides how it wishes to proceed.

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“Right now, the National League’s position is that they wish to be able to resume the 2019-20 season at some point. The feeder leagues do not support this because our clubs do not have the financial resources to continue to honour player contracts indefinitely.

“The Step 3 and 4 Leagues have therefore commenced the process to terminate the season. This has to be ratified by the FA Council, so there may be a short delay as the relevant documentation is submitted, distributed and approved.

“Whilst this process is ongoing, and once the National League has finalised how it wishes to proceed, competition issues can then be decided, together with the implications for promotion and relegation.

“As soon as the National League’s position is finalised, we will be able to confirm the basis on which the 2019-20 season has ended. We need as much commonality across the National League System as possible.

“The FA is currently reviewing its Rules to understand whether any emergency changes are required for season 2019/2020 which impact on player contracts, registration deadlines and retention/offers of re-engagement in the National League System.

“Given the fast-moving nature of the existing situation this work is ongoing.”

Soham are currently 13th in the Isthmian League North Division table. They have completed 28 of their 38 scheduled fixtures.

Rangers have postponed their Sportsman’s Dinner – with guest speakers Barry Fry and Steve Claridge – which was scheduled for April 9. It is hoped the event will now take place in September or October.


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