Virus row over football games

Coronavirus: National League football goes on as Premier League and EFL games are cancelled

Credit: Notts County FC

Dozens of National League football games went ahead this weekend despite all major UK footballing events being called off due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Twenty-three games were played across the country after The National League announced all games in their three divisions would all carry on as usual.

The statement, released last Friday, said games in The National League Premier, The National League North and The National League South would be going ahead, but the operation of their competitions would be kept under “constant and diligent review.”

The National League was widely rumoured to be following the English Football League (EFL) and Premier League who have suspended fixtures until at least April 3.

Instead they chose not to suspend fixtures at the present time and to “remain in compliance with the current government advice.”

Not all clubs are happy with the National League’s stance.

Chesterfield FC released a statement condemning the decision.

Ashley Carson, Chesterfield FC company secretary, said: “We do not support the decision at all and tried without success to contact National League chief executive Michael Tattersall today in order to make our feelings known.

“Premier League and EFL clubs have been joined by grassroots clubs in postponing matches so it would surely have been a sensible approach for the National League to follow suit.”

Only six of the 12 scheduled National League Premier games went ahead.

At Meadow Lane, home of Notts County, the official attendance for their game against Eastleigh FC on March 14 was 4,992.

This is higher than the average attendance at some football league games whose matches have been cancelled.

The National League posted a statement on their website after this weekend’s games.

It said: “The National League wishes to sincerely thank the fans, players, officials, staff, volunteers and sponsors who have arranged, supported and played in our 23 matches across the country today.

“The National League is keeping the continuation of the season under constant review and will provide a further update in due course.”

There is currently no Government advice on banning public gatherings so, for the time being, the season will continue.

With the situation constantly changing the National League may be forced to suspend the season.

There are currently 1,391 positive cases of coronavirus in the UK with 35 deaths.

This is due to increase as scientists predict the virus will spread significantly