Part 5: Uncertainty surrounds the National League North season

LITTLE seemed to have been resolved - at least publicly - during the two-week suspension period, which was coming to an end. How clubs would respond was the next instalment of the saga to look out for.

A slow slide towards the end

February 1 – A petition under the name of the National League on garners widespread support from National League sides, York included. The petition calls on the Government to change the nature of the promised funding from loans to grants.

The National League submits a request for the minutes from a key meeting called by the Government in which the league claims assurances were given that it would not have to pay back coronavirus crisis funding.

In the evening, clubs receive the resolution to consider the end of the season. The four possible outcomes are that the Step 1 season end and be declared null and void; the Step 2 season end and be declared null and void; both seasons end and be declared null and void; or both seasons continue.

February 3 – Sixteen Step 2 clubs back a statement calling for fixtures to restart until the resolution vote is decided, contingent on clubs being in agreement over the fixture; there being a fully funded Covid testing system in place; and clubs not facing sanctions for not fulfilling fixtures. Chippenham Town, a signatory, say they cannot fulfil their weekend fixture.

February 9 – Farsley Celtic flatly refuse to travel to York for Saturday’s league game. There were doubts about whether Alfreton or Darlington would be willing to play, but both those fixtures were postponed by the weather in the end.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston says the National League told member clubs they would receive grants after the National Lottery money ran out without confirming this with the Government.

February 11 – Dulwich Hamlet are charged for not fulfilling their fixtures. They are the first team to report a charge.

February 12 – Concord Rangers chairman Ant Smith says he will not respond to the charge brought against his team and says they had a “just cause” for not playing.

The National League release a statement saying charge hearings will not be heard until after the outcome of the vote on resolutions is known.

February 14 - National League general manager Mark Ives tells the Non-League Paper that "we need to ensure by taking the loans in the format they stand, the clubs aren't inadvertently breaking league rules."

February 16 – York finally play in the LNER Community Stadium. They lose 3-1 to fellow promotion-chasers AFC Fylde with captain Sean Newton scoring a penalty.

February 18 – The Step 2 season is declared null and void and ceases activity with immediate effect.