Legal challenge on season decision fails

The decision to null and void semi-professional football leagues including the Evo-Stik League and United Counties League has been ratified.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the seasons were ended without outcomes by the Football Association.

However South Shields FC, who were 12 points clear at the top of the Northern Premier League, took the case to an independent tribunal arguing other considerations including points per game determinations should have been used at steps three to seven of the non-league pyramid.

That would have affected Spalding who finished in mid-table of the Evo-Stik Northern League Division One South East and particularly Holbeach and Pinchbeck in step five’s United Counties League Premier Division.

Holbeach were fifth in the division and Pinchbeck rock bottom and potentially facing relegation.

However the legal challenge has been dismissed.

A statement by the FA released on Tuesday, said: “An independent arbitral tribunal has dismissed a legal challenge brought by South Shields FC against the decision of the FA Council to end the season with no promotion or relegation at Steps three to seven of the National League System due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The three person panel rejected the club’s arguments in their entirety that the decision was unlawful.

“The FA is acutely aware that any decision taken in such difficult circumstances would leave some clubs disappointed.

“However, we welcome the findings of the independent tribunal that the decision of the FA Council was taken after due and proper consultation and following careful consideration of the alternative options.”

Both Pinchbeck manager Ian Dunn and previous Holbeach manager Danny Hussey backed the decision to null and void the season at the time it was initially announced.

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