A FORMAL plea to the National League board has been made by Solihull Moors to urge the league’s scheduled start date of October 3 to go ahead in spite of yesterday’s latest COVID-19 guidelines proposed by the Government.
Moors’ statement is a response to the latest reports emerging yesterday that the National League season will now be delayed until supporters are permitted into stadiums.
The National League had previously confirmed on July 27 it’s plans for clubs to return to action at the beginning of October, during which time members have prepared for the 46-game season that lies ahead with a full five-week pre-season training programme, in addition to a host of new incomings and therefore extra expenditure.
One issue that particularly remains is that the National League remains the only elite level sport – a status that was previously granted by the Government – not to have commenced earlier this month, with the four Football Leagues above Step Five already completing two weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, leagues below Step One and Two of the non-league ladder have also returned to action as recently as last weekend, with the National League and National League North/South appearing to be caught in limbo between the elite and non-elite playing level – something which is creating uncertainty for the 67 member clubs.
In light of the Government’s latest announcement, Moors are firmly of the belief that the season should commence on October 3 behind-closed-doors, although this stance takes into account the unsustainable cost of effectively not welcoming any supporters until March 2021 – at which point Solihull will have not played in front of fans for 12 months having last done so on March 7.
One avenue proposed to combat the lack of fans is live streaming, to help generate some engagement amongst supporters as a potential revenue stream, with this path already being proposed to clubs by the National League with the lifting of the UEFA 3pm broadcast rule.
Step One and Two clubs have already demonstrated that they are able to host behind-closed-doors matches safely and successfully in line with relevant safety protocols, which have all been approved by local authorities.
Some clubs, including the Moors, have also operated behind-closed-doors matches under even tighter restrictions due to local lockdowns.
Work on this side of things has been significant, with the club engaging a dedicated Covid-19 officer to ensure all our operational plans for running a football match are Covid secure.
Moors ended the statement with the following message: “To further delay our season and create more uncertainty is unacceptable. #LetUsPlay“