We regret to say that we will not be playing our fixture against Chelmsford City this Saturday. On 22nd January the National League Board suspended the League for two weeks as clubs had overwhelmingly rejected taking loans as a means to complete the season. However, the League now directs that clubs play on despite the fact that the situation hasn’t changed with only the offer of what’s likely to be wholly or mostly loans from Sport England, with no certainty of them being granted and no guarantee of timescale, as a means to finance clubs without supporter revenue.
We maintain our position that the season wouldn’t have started without the promise by the League of central funding while fans are away, and the season should have remained suspended or been curtailed while there is nothing offered other than loans. We’re further exasperated that even with the League’s options on the table, the situation continues to drift with many clubs, particularly in the National League Premier, failing to post their votes and there being no apparent urgency to push for a resolution of the process.
As a Club, we wrote to the League last week outlining the reasons why we felt our fixture should be postponed, in line with above, but the only formal direct response we’ve had is a letter yesterday charging us for failure to play under rule 8.39. Dulwich Hamlet FC have outlined how we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, given that there is a host of regulations that we would be in contravention of, whichever course we take including taking on debt or fielding weakened teams as some clubs have said they will – see details. The League has now written to all clubs describing its obligation to follow this process and stating that no hearing will be conducted until the voting process is complete, but not why this rule is being applied to the exclusion of all others – read their statement.
All this could have been avoided had the DCMS and League come through with what all clubs understood to be the promise of grant funding to survive playing football without fans, and we once again call on the Government to reconsider their position.
We are sorry for the negative impact this is having on supporters, sponsors, players and the management, who all want Bath City FC to be playing football. But not at any cost and not to jeopardise your Club’s future.