Farsley Celtic Football Club has voted to null and void the 2020/21 Vanarama National League North season with immediate effect.
The club issued a statement today amid an ongoing funding dispute which has led to a vote on whether clubs want to continue playing this season.
The league sent all 66 clubs a list of resolutions on Monday, which asked them to vote on whether they wanted the National League, or the North and South Divisions, to continue depending on which division they play in.
Clubs began the season in October believing initial grant funding would be extended in January if no fans were allowed at matches. This has proved not to be the case, with the DCMS offering loans out of the Sport Winter Survival Package, which some clubs are refusing to take. Another issue is the lack of a testing programme.
Farsley Celtic has also today informed the National League that the club will not be fulfilling its National League North fixture away against Bradford Park Avenue tomorrow.
Farsley Celtic chief executive said on the vote to end the season:
“The board has carefully considered the available options and reluctantly reached this decision on the grounds of safety and to protect the financial wellbeing of the club.
“The board supported the recent temporary suspension of the season so that these matters could be addressed, however, the National League is proposing to restart without appropriate testing protocols in place and without the financial assurances we have been seeking.
“With various new strains of COVID-19 and an ongoing high risk of the spread of infection, the board feel the safety of our players, staff, management, volunteers and supporters must be our primary concern, and that clubs travelling around the country to fulfil fixtures without testing protocols and effective safeguards in place is not acceptable.
“The debate and argument over funding has still not reached a satisfactory resolution and the funding package available to allow football to take place is different from what was set out to clubs earlier in the season.
“We are very grateful to the National Lottery for the cash injection made available to the club for the period to December 2020, however, you may have seen the media coverage over the last few weeks regarding a change of stance with grants no longer being available.
“Instead, clubs have been given the opportunity to apply for funds from the Sports Winter Survival Package and this is something we intend to do within the next seven days.
“If the club is successful in securing an offer from the Sports Winter Survival Package this is likely to take the form of a loan rather than a grant, which the board will then have to consider whether it is appropriate to take on this debt.”
The Celts are one of 13 clubs who signed a statement issuing concerns about continuing the season without grants and Covid tests.