Southern League “all but over” as FA curtails football season

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Image: Bedford Town / Pitchero
Image: Bedford Town / Pitchero

Bedford Town and Kempston Rovers are facing a curtailment of their season after the FA decided that the completion of the Southern League is all but impossible.

Despite Boris Johnson’s roadmap announcement on 22nd February, the presumption and completion of the league has proven a step too far for the lower divisions, with over three-quarters of the season to be played.

A long-awaited statement by the FA confirmed many clubs’ fears with too many games to be completed in too short a time frame.

“Submissions were made by 99.1 percent of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, and 95.8 percent of clubs at Steps 5 and 6.”

“Over 76 percent of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021.”

“During this process, taking into account views of clubs and leagues, it was decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option.”

The announcement will come as little surprise to club officials, as both Bedford Town and Kempston Rovers had only completed seven and eight games of their respective seasons, with another 30 still to be played.

Bedford Town had made a solid start to their promotion-chasing season, sitting in 5th place in the Southern League Central Division One, winning three and drawing three of their seven games.

Kempston Rovers however had endured a tough start to the season, sitting in 16th with just one victory from their eight league games – a 3-2 victory against Wantage Town.

Both clubs will now start preparations for the 2021/22 season – hopefully with Covid-19 being all but a memory – however, the decision to declare the season null and void still needs to be ratified by the FA Council.

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