On the 11th June the club attended a virtual meeting with the other member clubs from the National South Division to discuss the method for ending the 2019/2020 season and the implications this would have on teams in the playoff positions, relegation and automatic promotion places. The way forward to commence the 2020/2021 season was also discussed.
The National League CEO initially outlined a draft resolution regarding how the current season would end. Member clubs were requested to vote for or against this resolution by Monday. Following feedback from the meetings from the individual divisions a final resolution will finalised and distributed to all.
On Wednesday, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) presented the FA with advice regarding the playoff situation in the various National League divisions. This radically changed the National League approach to all Play-offs. The DCMS reasoning was twofold, firstly a vast majority of players at Step 2 (National North and South Divisions) are part time and not full time (as is the case with the National League Division – Step 1) and therefore are not considered to be elite sportsmen. Secondly, the North and South division games are not broadcast, which is a further criterion to designation of what is or is not elite sport. Given our divisions do not meet the elite criteria then mass gatherings of more than 6 people are not permitted under government policy hence it would be illegal for the National league to organise them which resulted in their cancellation.
During the presentation other factors were discussed including the additional costs to be borne by each club in order to meet Covid-19 protocols. In addition, even if the playoffs were permitted, fixtures would need to be played behind closed doors (as in the PL and EFL) but the games would not be televised. No income would therefore be received from any source plus both clubs would be required contribute towards the cost of hosting the fixture.
The cancellation of the play offs has come as a huge blow to us all at Weymouth FC. After an incredible first season back at step 2 our disappointment as a board is matched by that of Mark, his staff and players and more importantly you as supporters.
We understand that the five other clubs who qualified for the play-offs are currently considering their positions and we will do the same over the weekend. Ultimately, we do have to ensure that the club is in a position to compete next season which is hopefully sooner rather than later. We will then vote to make the best decision we can in these difficult times. in all of this we should remember that Covid-19 has claimed the lives of so many people, including valued members of our Terras Family.
Please follow the advice given and stay safe as we want to see you all back enjoying football again at the Bob Lucas as soon as possible.
Weymouth Football Club Board of Directors