National League told to plan for September start with fans allowed in stadiums

The National League has been told to plan for the new season to start in September with fans allowed in stadiums, we understand.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 1:07 pm

The Football Association informed clubs of the government recommendation last week.

But in a presentation to clubs, seen by the DT, the National League said: “However, we need to be cautious, we need to be adaptable, and we may need to consider alternative fixture formats.”

The government is reviewing the return of supporters and the National League has discussed “what capacity and attendance limits might allow the National League to be viable.”

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The National League season could start in September.

Extra protocols with regards to travelling to matches, changing rooms, showering, toilets and bars have also been discussed.

Allowing teams to have five substitutes is one rule change that is being considered for the new season as well as what happens if another curtailment is required.

If the new campaign does start in September then it would finish in May followed by the play-offs.

In ordinary circumstances the 2020/2021 season would have started on August 8.

Clubs submitted their votes on how the 2019/2020 season should be resolved this week.

The final decision will still need to be ratified by the FA Council.

If the National League play-offs are given the green light, matches will commence behind closed doors at clubs’ grounds by July 18 at the latest and be completed by July 31.

The games will be broadcast on BT Sport.

The play-off final will be at a neutral venue.

Clubs involved in the play-offs will need to test players and staff for coronavirus and fund the costs.

No decision has yet been made on whether Stevenage or Macclesfield will be relegated from League Two. Stevenage are bottom of the division but Macclesfield - three points above them - face a possible points deduction if a charge of failing to pay their players’ wages on time is proved.

On Friday the FA is meeting with steps five and six to discuss plans for the 2020/2021 season.

Chesterfield’s last match came against Dover Athletic on March 14.

Caretaker manager John Pemberton and the Spireites squad are currently on furlough.