A file pic of a football. PA
Across the water

FA under fire after English non-league seasons voided, but committed to completing FA Cup

The FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup will still be completed if possible, the FA has assured.

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION [FA] hopes to complete the 2019-20 FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup when it is “safe and appropriate to do so”.

English football has been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League all paused.

There have been almost 10,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the United Kingdom and close to 500 deaths.

League action has been put on hold until at least 30 April, although the FA has extended the season indefinitely in a bid to complete the 2019-20 campaign.

In a statement released on Thursday, English football’s governing body outlined its commitment to its cup competitions, but all campaigns from the seventh-tier down were brought to an end with results from the campaign voided

Former England defender Gary Neville said he “doesn’t get” the decision, with the move was met with dismay by several clubs.

sterling-cropped_jyip9i3pfshi12x2pc9bd5mck Raheem Sterling with the FA Cup.

Former Manchester United and England defender Neville, a co-owner of Salford, now in fourth-tier League Two but until recently a non-league side, tweeted:

“Can someone explain to me what is forcing the non-league divisions to void the season? We’ve been down there with @SalfordCityFC for 5 years so we have some experience of it and I don’t get it!! Help.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of South Shields — 12 points clear at the top of the Northern Premier Division and all but assured of promotion to National League North — has threatened the FA with legal action.

SSFC will be writing to the FA in the strongest possible terms and will seek an appeal or will take legal action,” said Geoff Thompson.

“Whatever the outcome following this appalling decision, the club will continue as before. However, there is no denying this decision has a huge financial impact.”

Men’s grassroots football and women’s football below the top two tiers were also brought to an end to “allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season.” 

The Premier League and English Football League have so far insisted they will try to finish the current season whenever it is safe to do so.

Full statement here. 

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