Non-league football season at Steps 3-6 is curtailed
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
The 2020/21 non-league football season at Steps 3-6 has been curtailed with immediate effect, the Football Association have announced, subject to the approval of the FA Council.
For the second consecutive season, leagues that involve many local sides, from the likes of Leiston, Needham and Lowestoft at Step 3, through to Ipswich Wanderers, Framlingham and Cornard, in Suffolk at Step 6 will not complete their season - just as they did not complete it last year.
In Norfolk, it will mean the end of the league season for high-flying Wroxham, as well as Dereham, Gorleston and Norwich United among others.
While a plethora of Step 6 Norfolk teams, including Mulbarton, Downham, Sheringham and Yarmouth, will also see their season end now.
It means the Southern League, Isthmian League and Thurlow Nunn leagues will all stop. But no decision has yet been made on Step 7 football.
However, the FA Vase will still continue.
The decision doesn't come as a total surprise as many clubs had only played a handful of league fixtures before the sport was locked down before Christmas.
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But it is also the fact that many clubs rely on fans through the turnstiles and hospitality bar takings, etc., to make ends meet.
And with the Roadmap out of lockdown not allowing that to happen until almost the season's end, many clubs were happy to null and void the season now.
Grassroots football, including Sunday morning football will be allowed to commence on April 12, along with some other outdoor sports.
However, many clubs at Steps 3-6 have players on contracts who need to be paid, hence their need for paying fans and hospitality.
Clubs had been asked their thoughts and 76% wanted to end the season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before April 1.
There were still 81% of matches to play at Steps 3/4 and 75% at Steps 5/6