It was the decision that we all knew was coming and so there should be no surprise that the 2020/21 Men’s season for clubs at Steps 3 to 6 has now been curtailed by the Football Association.
Last season, the FA decided in late March that the 2019/20 season was to be declared Null & Void. So what is the difference between last season and this? Here’s our quick summary of what it all means.
What does the decision mean for Lewes FC? It means our season has finished – our last league game was the 1-0 victory over Merstham and thus we finish the Isthmian League Premier season in 18th spot. Whilst the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown restrictions was encouraging, team training couldn’t restart until 8th March (and only then in groups of 6) and spectators can’t enter stadiums until at least mid-May. With just eight league games played, there was never a chance of the season being able to restart.
Why Curtail and not Null and Void? The 2019/20 season was declared Null and Void. This means the records from last season have effectively been deleted from the record books. Curtailing this season means the records still remain and could be used as a contributory factor next season should that be interrupted. One way to think about it is working on a Microsoft Word Document. Null and Void means that you decide to close the document but when offered the option between Do Not Save and Save, you choose the former. The document, and all of its contents will be deleted permanently from your computer and cannot be retrieved at any point in the future for any use. Curtailing means you choose the open to Save (or Save As). The document is preserved and could be re-opened at a future date with the data/contents still in tact.
So what happens now? The FA Alliance Committee will take their decision to the FA Council to ratify, which is likely to happen in the next two weeks. However, that is just a formality. The season is over and we will not play any further games. We will then start pre-season in late June assuming lockdown restrictions allow us to, building towards the new season.
When will the next season start?: To be confirmed but likely to the either the 7th or 14th August. The date will depend on when the FA will schedule FA Cup Qualifying Rounds. Due to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in winter 2022, the professional season is likely to start much earlier next season, potentially in mid-July which will have an impact on fixtures across the pyramid.
Does that mean the work stops on the Men’s team? No. The Football Operations team have been working behind the scenes for weeks on what players we want to bring to the club, which we retain and who we promote from the U18s. That work will continue for the foreseeable future as well as our planning on the Men’s pathway structure
Can our Under18s play? Youth football is considered different to Men’s football in some competitions. Unfortunately. The Isthmian Youth League and Youth League Cup have also been curtailed but we are waiting to hear about the Sussex Youth Cup which we still hold as champions from 2019.
What about the Sussex Senior Cup? It is up to the individual County FA’s as to whether they continue their competitions. However, as it will be at least another 12 weeks before anyone could play in front of fans it is unlikely that the remaining Sussex Senior Cup fixtures will be played. If it was decided that it will continue, we would consider our situation, what players we could call on and the health and safety of our staff before making a decision.
What happens to my season ticket? The club is hugely grateful to those individuals who purchased a season ticket, especially with the threat of another season being interrupted. We will communicate the options to all season ticket holders in the next week – everyone will be able to choose their own option for the ticket they own.
Did the club apply for the grants available in the Winter Survival Fund set up by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport? Yes. The club made an application for the Men’s team and have received positive news on that application. We are also able to make a grant application for the Women’s team which is currently in progress.
Finally, we want to thank everyone who has continued to support the club in these challenging times. Every donation you have made, shirt you have bought, ownership you have invested in and kind word you have written on Social Media has been a huge help. We pride ourselves on our community spirit and at difficult times we have all experienced in the last year, are immensely proud of the whole Lewes FC community.
Please take care, stay safe and Come On You Rooks!