I refer to my November / December statement issued a short time ago. The Northern Premier League had instructed all teams to re-commence fixtures on Boxing Day. This was after no consultation with the clubs. They had consulted previously, before making the original decision to postpone all fixtures in line with our fellow brethren of the Southern and Isthmian Leagues.
After a significant number of protests, they have now directed that the decision to continue to fulfil fixtures be the decision of the relevant clubs. I have to tell you now that the Board of Directors have decided not to proceed with any further fixtures for the present time. Indeed, only several teams gave an indication that they wished to continue.
Our reasoning is twofold. The continued safety of our playing staff and volunteers together with the supporters is paramount. The staccato manner in which the League is being continued is frankly causing chaos. I sympathise with the Northern Premier League as they are looking for guidance from the FA and Government, which is equally confusing. However, the introduction of Tier 4 has made matters worse.
The second reason is that the survival of the Football Club outweighs all other matters. Our players and staff are currently on furlough having generously taken a reduction of 20% of their normal wage. In order for them to continue to play we would have to take them off furlough, and pay them in full. If for any reason a game is postponed, we would be forced to pay them without having received any gate receipts. In addition, the fact that the stipulated £14 million is not to be allocated in the form of grants, has meant that the only safety net clubs have has is the flexible furlough scheme. It is therefore our intention to retain all staff under this scheme until such time all clubs are to play fixtures.
The continued delay and number of fixtures postponed would now suggest that the format of the League will have to be altered to achieve a result. It is not certain at this stage how the competition will be decided and with a further national lockdown facing us we feel that there is no option but to take the above course of action.
Finally, on behalf of myself, the Board of Directors, the Management and players I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Let us hope that 2021 turns out to be better than this last 12 months.