RUGBY Town’s season appears to have reached an end following an announcement by the Football Association regarding the non-League football pyramid, writes Jon Venner.
The FA have decided the best course of action in the light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis is to declare all grassroots football has been concluded for the 2019/20 term and furthermore the results and standings within a number of levels of the pyramid will be declared null and void.
The announcement covers steps three to seven of the non-League structure and therefore incorporates both Town’s United Counties League Premier Division endeavours and those of Rugby Borough two levels lower in the Leicestershire Senior League.
Reacting to the decision, Valley boss Carl Adams said: “It was always going to be a tough call for the authorities, but naturally we are disappointed considering the excellent form we had been in ahead of the suspension of matches.
“I firmly believe with the way we had been performing and the results we were getting that we were set for a top two finish and with it the chance of promotion, but I appreciate there is a bigger picture to consider also.”
Town sat third in the UCL Premier table when the league was paused with only 11 games of their season remaining after a fine run in which they had won ten of the previous 11 fixtures.
Adams continued: “I personally would have liked to have explored a way of fitting in the remaining games somehow even if it meant going into the summer and I also think this call has come quite early, but it’s one of those things and these are unprecedented times.”
At the point of termination, Valley were seven points behind leaders Quorn with three games in hand – with Shepshed sandwiched between the two sides – whilst Borough occupied fourth spot, but were 24 points behind table-topping Allexton & New Parks from three less games played.
There had been speculation the FA had considered allocating promotion and relegation places through a calculation of points per games already played. Under this scenario, Town’s ratio of 2.11 was narrowly short of Quorn’s 2.13, with Shepshed way ahead on 2.40 points.
Adams reflected: “It’s difficult to see a fair way of doing it. Deciding it on a snapshot before all the games have been completed doesn’t take into account things like form, who had who left to play and many other factors too.”
More than 100 clubs have written to the FA objecting to the decision, which is still to be ratified by the FA Council.