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Barwick to stand down as National League chairman

National League chairman Brian Barwick has notified the league’s board of his intention to step down from the role at the end of the 2020/21 season.

He has opted to relinquish the role after a challenging year in which the National League North and South were terminated and declared null and void.

Barwick, 66, told the board of his decision in February, but this comes after growing pressure from clubs that were unhappy with how league has handled issues during the COVID-19 crisis.

He also faced a possible vote of no confidence which was proposed last week by Maidstone United and Dorking Wanderers.

Barwick stated: “After careful consideration I formally told the National League Board in February that I intended to step down at the end of the 2020/21 season.

“I think it is the right time to relinquish the role - and give somebody else the great privilege of leading the organisation.

“Since 2015, I believe the competition has continued to grow in stature and profile, sent strong clubs up into the EFL and built up a formidable and loyal set of commercial and broadcast partnerships.

“Our 66 clubs remain the life-blood of our competition and a vital part of their local communities - and that’s what makes our League so special.

“I also acknowledge just how tough it has been for many of our clubs over the past twelve months facing the unprecedented challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic.”

Many clubs only agreed to start the season with the assumption that further grant funding would be available to support a £10m financial package from the National Lottery which enabled teams to kick off their campaigns in October.

There was controversy over how these funds was distributed between clubs and then a series of resolutions were triggered when it became clear that further grant support would not be in place to see clubs through to the end of the season. This led to most clubs in the North and South divisions voting to end their season immediately, while Dover Athletic have stopped playing matches in the National League, resulting in a £40,000 fine and 12-point deduction for next season.

Chief executive Mike Tattersall resigned from his role in December amid growing frustration from clubs over funding for the league as well as the allocation of National Lottery grants.

National League vice-chairman Jack Pearce said: “Whilst it would be easy to reflect on what has been a very challenging year for football, not only The National League, the progression of the competition over this six-year period has been greater than we could have expected.”

General Manager Mark Ives also added: “Brian has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the League and his vast experience across the game and the media has been a tremendous benefit to the League and its member clubs.

“I have had the privilege now of working with Brian on two separate occasions during my career, and his knowledge and determination has been exceptional. We are all grateful for his support over the years.”

Barwick has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in sport, spanning senior roles in sports broadcasting organisations and sport governing bodies.

In December, the former Football Association chief executive was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for his services to sport and broadcasting.

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