01:00PM, Friday 27 March 2020
Slough Town joint manager Jon Underwood called for clarity from the FA and National League on whether the league season is going to be terminated and, if so, what the ramifications will be for clubs battling for promotion or against relegation.
He says the information is needed as soon as possible to give clubs the best possible chance of being ready when football finally does return.
The Rebels have been strong contenders for promotion through the play-offs this season and currently sit fifth in the National League South table. However, the coronavirus pandemic has already led to football leagues from step three down to step seven being declared null and void, and results expunged.
A similar decision for the National League, and National League North and South, would end the Rebels’ hopes of promotion.
The league said yesterday (Thursday) it was working to come up with a solution as quickly as possible.
However, Underwood has already managed to get his head around the idea of his side not being able to compete in the play-offs.
“We’ve done well throughout the season and got ourselves in a position where we were going to have a chance of going up. But now, that chance looks like it’s going to be taken away,” said Underwood.
“It’s very unclear what will happen. We don’t know if the season will be declared void or if there will be promotions and/or relegations.
“For us, sitting in fifth, we were always going to be reliant on the play- offs for a chance of promotion.
“It’s a tough call for the leagues to make. I think whatever action they take they’re going to upset somebody.
“Obviously, football is a huge priority for someone like me and all of the people involved at this level but it’s not the biggest priority at the moment and we just have to accept what decision is taken and deal with it. If it means that we have to go and start again next season then that’s what we’ll do.”
If football’s governing bodies decide that National League football can not resume, Underwood admits he and
his fellow management team would like to know sooner rather than later so they can begin to lay their foundations for next season.
“If the decision is final that we can’t play our play-off matches then at least it gives us that little bit of clarity to know where we are and we know what league we’re competing in next year,” added Underwood.
“The club can start to budget too because it will be a huge difference if we got promoted with the travelling and all that sort of stuff. It allows the club to know what scenario we’re in.
“I’ve got my head around the fact we’re not going to play the play-offs.
“We’ll just have to go again next year and it’ll certainly feel like we’ve lost a whole season. But I’m a firm believer in that you can only affect what you can. It’s out of our hands. We’ve just got to make a good job of being competitive again next year.”
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