Women’s teams sign joint letter asking FA to reconsider ending season

Barnsley WFC signed letter to FA
Photo: @BarnsleyWFC

Natalie Jackson, Director of Barnsley WFC, has voiced her opinion as 66 clubs – both men’s and women’s – seek to change the FA decision to null and void the season in the wake of Covid-19.

A joint statement was made public on Monday 30 March, signed by chairpersons or official club representatives of clubs including
Barnsley WFC, AFC Basildon Women, Stourbridge LFC and Shifnal Town Ladies.

The statement comes just days after the FA announced a decision “to bring the season to an immediate end”, with “all results [to] be expunged”.

The FA’s initial statement, made on Thursday 26 March, stated that “The FA and leagues within tiers three to seven have reached a consensus”, however questions have been raised by clubs around the level of consultation, with their letter of response stating that, “many leagues across the country assert that no vote had been put to them by the FA” and “there appears to have been little to no attempt to consult deeply and widely and so formulate a clearer idea of what any ‘consensus’ amongst clubs might be.”

The FA’s statement confirmed that it remains “in consultation with the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship Board and clubs regarding the most appropriate way to complete the current season”, and is “reviewing all options” with regard to the Women’s FA Cup.

The club statement thanks “all governing bodies, leagues and respective chairpersons for their continued hard work at a time of such adversity”, recognising that the decision to expunge results for the 2019/20 season is pending ratification from the FA Council. It asks for “constructive dialogue with the FA with the aim to have the decision re-considered.”

Natalie Jackson, Director of Barnsley Women’s FC, spoke today following release of the joint statement:

“There would be a huge level of disappointment for our players, staff, fans and community if this decision were to be ratified and the season expunged. Everyone at the club is 100% behind all efforts to keep people safe and save lives, and there is no suggestion that football should be continuing at the present time, or that football should be the forefront of anyone’s minds; there are far more important things going on. We are, however, concerned at the apparent lack of consultation of clubs in the making of what could be a hasty decision to void the 2019/20 season.

“These are clubs whose players, staff, sponsors and supporters have collectively expended thousands of hours and millions of pounds on a season that could now be declared void. They should not only be consulted, but each viable alternative course of action should be considered fully with all perspectives borne in mind.

“There is time now to consult and consider options including completing the final 20-30% of league seasons, deciding seasons on a Points Per Game (PPG) basis, or further delay to decision-making to assess the situation over coming months and weeks. There is too much at stake for clubs like ours for hasty decisions to be made, and we would welcome the opportunity for all clubs to be properly consulted, and all perspectives to be considered.”

Clubs await any official response from the FA.

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