IT’S CRUNCH time in the Northern Premier League as football clubs are submitting their recommendations on how to handle the season in light of the third lockdown.

Earlier this month The FA announced that it would conduct a survey amongst clubs in the NPL asking their opinion before deciding what to do about the 2020/2021 season.

It followed a meeting with bosses of The Trident Leagues who jointly recommended that the current season be rendered null and void, due to the amount of games missed during the pandemic.

Clubs submitted their proposals last Friday. As the third lockdown hit, the NPL gave a tentative restart date of March 6.

League chairman Mark Harris told the NPL podcast: “The point at which lockdown came, you always try and give clubs as much certainty as possible.”

“In reality, even if restrictions were relaxed at that time I think it’s highly unlikely. We also have to build-in the fact that even if we were given a green light to play towards the end of February, we would have to give clubs at least two weeks for what is effectively a mini pre-season.”

Workington AFC chairman David Bowden said: “The clubs directors thought it important that we share with our fans the basis of our reply, we have added our comments below as they appeared on the survey.”

Reds bosses told the NPL: “We wish to avoid another null and void scenario.

“There is little doubt that null and void compromises the integrity of football to our fans, sponsors and the investment from the clubs themselves.

“We understand completely the background and situation the country is in due to the pandemic.

“It is unlikely that some of the target dates to recommence games mentioned in this survey will be achieved in any event, leading to continued uncertainty.”

One of the proposals set out by the social media account Project Non-League, which is campaigning against null and void, is to operate on points-per-game based on seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21 combined.

The Reds board said: “This would give certainty and put integrity back into the competition.

“Clubs would be rewarded for their efforts and this would create a positive outcome, putting control of promotion and relegation back into the hands of the clubs regardless of the pandemic.”

The 2019 season was previously rendered null and void, leaving table-toppers like Reds with the feeling that they had been given a raw deal.

“It is unlikely we can play our way out of this pandemic, but we can manage our way out of it. Extraordinary times need brave decisions not based on precedents and status quo”