National League clubs 'will not' have option to vote to void 2019/20 season

The option to vote for the 2019/20 season to be declared null and void will not be one presented to National League clubs, according to Harrogate Town managing director Garry Plant.

Barrow (blue kit) and Harrogate Town made up the top-two when the 2019/20 National League season was suspended in mid-March. Picture: Matt Kirkham

It was announced on Thursday that members of English football’s fifth and sixth tiers will be afforded the opportunity to decide how the current campaign is concluded following its indefinite suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The National League’s board has recommended that all clubs approve their proposal to cancel all fixtures up to and including April 25.

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If that proposal is passed, then members will be polled on how they wish to determine issues of promotion and relegation.

While the Football League has revealed its intention to complete all remaining fixtures, results in all of the divisions below the National League North and South have been expunged and their seasons controversially declared null and void.

This, however, is a fate that Plant insists will not befall teams in the fifth and sixth tiers.

“Null and void won’t be on the table. It will not be an option,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

“That would be a disaster for the competition and for football.”

Plant went on to say that he felt the National League board’s decision to offer members the opportunity to vote on how 2019/20 is concluded is the right one.

“I think it’s the only thing to do in these circumstances,” he added.

“Each club will see things differently in terms of how matters are decided, but the positive for everyone is that we will all have some certainty.

“This means that clubs will know where they stand when it comes to the issues of player contracts and finances.”

A letter sent by the National League to its members on Thursday said: 'The board has approved an Ordinary Resolution for clubs. This resolution is that the playing season shall immediately end for all fixtures scheduled up to and including April 25, 2020. The board recommends clubs vote for this resolution.

'If the Ordinary Resolution is passed and the remaining 'normal season' league matches of the season are cancelled, the league will then immediately proceed with a poll of North and South clubs to determine the outcomes of the season across those divisions.

'This will be followed by a vote to determine the outcomes of the season in the National division. The appropriate options to determine the outcomes of the season are being diligently prepared, and will be approved by the board before they are sent to clubs in due course.'

Harrogate sat second in the National League standings when competition was initially suspended in mid-March, four points behind leaders Barrow.

Yorkshire rivals FC Halifax Town were sixth and occupied a play-off berth.