Boston United versus Darlington postponed as Quakers say they have been 'misled' by the National League

Match was due to be replayed following November abandonment...

Fraser Preston. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Fraser Preston. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Fraser Preston. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Boston United's scheduled match at Darlington will not go ahead, the hosts stating they have been 'misled' by the National League.

The Quakers - who beat Wealdstone in the FA Trophy earlier this month - have opted not to play tomorrow's contest, informing the National League they are unwilling to continue with league games until the outcome of the vote to end the season is concluded.

A club statement from Darlington read: "After several meetings and a huge amount of discussion in the last fortnight, the board of directors of Darlington FC has decided that the club will not play our National League North game at home to Boston United on Tuesday, February 16.

"The issue of financial funding through grants has not been resolved since the start of the league suspension in January. Indeed, there is now doubt about whether the league is breaking its own rules by encouraging clubs to take out loans from the DCMS, according to quotes attributed to the league’s general manager in the Non-League Paper on Sunday.

"This club has endured three harmful administrations, and since the fans took over the ownership of the club in 2012, we have worked very hard to make the club sustainable through many fundraising campaigns. We have learned the lessons of the mistakes of past owners, which makes us very determined not to over-burden the club with debt from a loan – no matter what the terms and repayment period are -- and wipe out all the hard work of the last nine years for the sake of four months. It would be unreasonable to require us to get into debt to carry on playing when we relied on the representations by the National League regarding funding and compensation whilst playing behind closed doors.

"We are determined that we shall not trade while insolvent – indeed to do so knowingly is illegal. We estimate that we have lost approximately £50,000 in January, and probably another £50,000 in February. We therefore believe that we have just cause (under league rule 8.39) in not playing the game on Tuesday.

"There has been limited progress on the proposed lateral flow testing of players as part of Covid secure arrangements whilst every other organisation that continues to operate during the pandemic is providing testing or is gaining access to government-funded testing. Given the financial status of National League North football clubs operating behind closed doors, it is reasonable for the National League to provide, or make available, funding for such testing. This is evidenced by actions taken in other “elite” leagues. Until such testing is in place, we believe this is further justification for not playing.

"In these circumstances we believe that we have been misled by the National League, and therefore an objective independent person would consider it wholly unreasonable to require us to play matches until there is resolution to the financial and safety issues that have been known by the National League for many weeks."

The Pilgrims have not played a league game since January 11's draw at Bradford Park Avenue due to opponents Curzon Ashton also opting not to play last week and frozen pitches scuppering games against Kidderminster Harriers and Guiseley.

Curzon have been charged for not fulfilling the fixture.

Tomorrow's scheduled match was due to be a replayed contest.

United were leading 2-0 in the 87th minute against the Quakers at Blackwell Meadows, courtesy of goals from Jordan Burrow and Fraser Preston, in November before the contest was abandoned due to an injury to home defender Nicky Hunt.

While Boston lobbied to be awarded the three points, Darlington boss Alun Armstrong called for the contest to be replayed.

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