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Finish the season, void it or ... something else?


DangerousSausage
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So what will we do with the 19-20 season, then?  

20 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you want to end the 19-20 season?

    • Wait till the summer, cross our fingers and try to complete the fixtures then
      12
    • Void it - finishing the season isn't realistic
      2
    • Complete the season as it is - automatic promotion awarded, but no relegation
      2
    • Pick up the season again next February; until then, schedule special championships as soon as football is unbanned
      4
    • Wibble
      0


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And still we haven't got a decision on what is going to happen to the 2019-20 season. In a way it's understandable, but the National League in particular is under a lot of pressure - in two weeks, all clubs bar Notts and Yeovil are going to be releasing players who are out of contract.

We'd all like The Difficulties to just go away so we can look forward to a summer of football. While that would be neatest, any relaxation of lockdown would happen in stages and the powers that be would be reluctant for large crowds to assemble in football grounds.

Then there's voiding the season and starting again in the autumn. While it would be soul-destroying for the clubs chasing promotion in particular, at least this solution is clean and even-handed. An alternative would be to hand promotion to all teams in the automatic promotion spots and not to relegate anyone, so we'd end up with 22 teams in the Premier League and League Two. This way the season hasn't all been for nothing, but it's also unfair as some teams will have had easier fixtures than others.

The elephant in the room is the very real possibility that we can't just restart in the autumn, or that cases rise again and stadiums have to be closed again in the winter. This would put next season in danger too, which would be a killer blow for many clubs. So the final solution is one I read online - we play this season through to the end, BUT we restart it in February 2021, including all cup competitions and play-offs, exactly a year after we left off. Until then, we schedule special COVID-19 leagues, which could be regional, as soon as it is safe and feasible to do so. This way it's fair, and the hard work put into the season hasn't gone to waste. The problem is financial: the lack of a guaranteed income, and the implications for players' contracts.

What do you all think?

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At this stage, I think the FA should look at if it's possible to play games behind closed doors.

At least when the UK are properly testing people for the COVID-19, if teams have issues with players having it - they should be forced to field whatever team they can and if this means using youth team players so be it. If this was general flu, those players would be classed as 'injured' so I don't see why this type of scenario can't be played out.

Whatever happens could have an impact on the future of football, I know people are making a strong case against the voiding of promotions as being financially unfair and it is.

Yet waiting seems to be the best option right now, if Notts don't finish this season, I am confident that they will do well in future campaigns with this squad.

I just feel that the decision needs to reflect fairly, avoiding relegation only benefits those teams heading down the pyramid. I can't see that as being a fair way of resolving this situation if playing the remaining games isn't possible.

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@Chris I forgot about playing behind closed doors, but I'm not a fan of the idea. When even NHS staff aren't being tested, footballers shouldn't be prioritised. Another issue is that players train together, so when one or two fall ill, the rest of the squad is quarantined too - it's not like flu where they just treat it as an injury and the other players carry on. So you'd quickly end up in a situation where many clubs are fielding youth teams, thus distorting the competition. Not to mention players being asked to put their health at risk - I'd be furious if my employer did that to me.

Another solution would be to tack the rest of this season onto the start of next season, and halve the length of next season by splitting every division into a north/south section. Of course that would bring a financial hit, and with contracts running out, clubs need to know how much they can spend.

To be honest I'm not even that fussed about what division we're in next season, that's not actually the point of it. I'm just looking forward to football coming back, for its own sake.

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I think the special championships is an interesting idea but the contract situation would be a bit of a nightmare. Lower league clubs just don't have the budget to put players on long contracts, especially with the loss of income most have already suffered. If we were to resume the season surely all the squads need to be the same, otherwise how would it be fair? I just can't see that happening.

A lot of it depends on a vaccine being found, or kind of how close we are to finding one. I'm hopeful we can get some resolution, playing over the summer with a mini-break (maybe just a month) before the new season. We could potentially be in the same scenario this time next year too, halfway through a new season. It's just so unpredictable and I don't envy the people who ultimately have to make this decision.

Edited by menzinho
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I think most fans want them to remain calm and see what options come from sitting this out, the only issue I see is I don't believe the UK can get rid of the COVID-19 with the measures in place currently.

This lockdown is too soft.

It will make it much harder the longer it goes on to complete this season.

I want the season to be finished but sooner or later, you have to admit defeat and do what's best.

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17 hours ago, menzinho said:

I think the special championships is an interesting idea but the contract situation would be a bit of a nightmare. Lower league clubs just don't have the budget to put players on long contracts, especially with the loss of income most have already suffered. If we were to resume the season surely all the squads need to be the same, otherwise how would it be fair? I just can't see that happening.

A lot of it depends on a vaccine being found, or kind of how close we are to finding one. I'm hopeful we can get some resolution, playing over the summer with a mini-break (maybe just a month) before the new season. We could potentially be in the same scenario this time next year too, halfway through a new season. It's just so unpredictable and I don't envy the people who ultimately have to make this decision.

The special championships are a great idea, but alas I think the powers that be are clinging to the belief that we can just pick up again in summer and carry on as if nothing happened. A vaccine isn't expected till next year, so it's highly likely that until then there are going to be more lockdowns, maybe regional ones, so The Difficulties don't spiral out of control again. So it's unrealistic to schedule 55 or so league fixtures between June 2020 and June 2021 (including this season's) when there's a very real likelihood that the football will have to stop again at least once during that time. Then we'll end up having discussions about cancelling that season instead, as you say.

If we're going to finish the season in late summer, splitting the divisions into north/south sections for 20/21 might help. Then there would only be 22 league fixtures, so including the back end of this season 30-odd games would have to be scheduled up to Euro 2021. That could be doable even with another lockdown, but the clubs are understandably reluctant to wave goodbye to 12 home games just like that.

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fingers crossed there is time to finish it off, if it was more than 10 games remaining it might be difficult but it's almost finished.

if they cancel the season and make it void, it would be annoying since they did not postpone the last home game at notts which was right bang in the middle of the outbreak in the uk.

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I could give a long detailed post as to why I feel the season should be paused until the summer, but I do think the Coronavirus will be here long after that has gone.

I'd like to believe that the National League would do best by its members.

I see Notts and Barrow being two teams that can generate the league a lot of interest and money, I can't see them being in a rush to reward promotion for this reason. I would prefer them to wait but I suspect by the end of these next 3 weeks that null and voiding the league will be announced.

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@TheSkipper It won't take as long as 3 weeks - contracts end at the end of April in the National League, so the clubs will want to avoid a situation where they let go of a large part of their playing staff, only to be told the league is restarting in June or July.

I don't think it will anyway. Here's a taster of what's coming: in Germany, all large events with crowds of 1,000 or more have been banned until the end of August (and Germany's stats regarding The Situation are MUCH better than those in the UK). That rules out anything barring playing behind closed doors (and that option is expensive and fraught with difficulties).

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from a Non Notts point of view i think ending the season has gone - when they announced the 3 week extension yesterday they also hinted at the overall period still being 3 months - so finishing this season is out.

When the league was originally suspended many hoped it would be a month tops and we'd be playing again, but we all no better now - there's no realistic chance of matches before August/September.

I think the vote will almost certainly go to ending the season - although you might get one team trying to hold out until the 7th May deadline out of principle.

IF the BBC numbers are correct and there are 10 in favour of ending, 10 undecided and 4 wanting to play on in the National League Premier then then even if the 10 undecided all voted to continue it would only take a 6-2 vote to abandon in NLN and NLS for a 16-16 tie and the deciding vote goes to the league who would back their own proposal. We already know there is no relegation from NLS and NLN so there's every chance that will go 6-2...

Then it's just a matter of waiting to find out what happens next.

Edited by chipmunx
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On 17/04/2020 at 15:07, DangerousSausage said:

@TheSkipper It won't take as long as 3 weeks - contracts end at the end of April in the National League, so the clubs will want to avoid a situation where they let go of a large part of their playing staff, only to be told the league is restarting in June or July.

It shouldn't, but I can't see them making the decision until the lockdown is extended again.

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Option 1 is out then. The contracts ending in April meant that waiting until the summer was never really an option. Whether the season is voided or promotion awarded (I think @chipmunx might have an opinion on that one), don't think that's the end of it - without a vaccine, I fear next season will be hard hit too.

If clubs start going bust, we might even end up back in the League by default. I don't want that at all - I want to return in a blaze of glory, not at the stroke of a pen.

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4 minutes ago, DangerousSausage said:

Option 1 is out then. The contracts ending in April meant that waiting until the summer was never really an option. Whether the season is voided or promotion awarded (I think @chipmunx might have an opinion on that one), don't think that's the end of it - without a vaccine, I fear next season will be hard hit too.

If clubs start going bust, we might even end up back in the League by default. I don't want that at all - I want to return in a blaze of glory, not at the stroke of a pen.

yep - of course I have ;) 

I agree with your comments on next season - it could well end up being a February to November season in 2021 (and again in 2022 - partly due to the world cup),

By the time football starts again though i can see Barrow, Harrogate, Notts and maybe Yeovil being all in the league for the next season.

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