Can Boston United play on? National League boss willing to look at 'alternative, viable solution' for clubs whose season was made null and void

Pilgrims among clubs backing #LetUsPlay campaign...
Will Boston United's season continue? Photo: Oliver AtkinWill Boston United's season continue? Photo: Oliver Atkin
Will Boston United's season continue? Photo: Oliver Atkin

Could Boston United s season be resurrected?

National League general manager Mark Ives has stated that he would be willing to look at an 'alternative, viable solution' to allow action to continue.

The Pilgrims were one of 19 National League North and South clubs who launched the Let Us Play campaign after their season was declared null and void.

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Teams in step two of the National League System voted 24-19 in favour of axing the campaign last month.

However, all but one of the clubs who wished to continue let their feelings known in an open letter to National League general manager Mark Ives.

Speaking to the BBC's The Non-League Show, Mr Ives said: "I think it's in the best interest of the league that we should listen to all the clubs, either side of the fence.

"I believe that's right. Do I believe that there's an opportunity to consider an alternative, viable solution? A very well-crafted letter was put to the league on what might possibly happen. Do I believe we should consider that? Yes, I do."

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While the vote came back in favour of making the season null and void, the Football Association still have to ratify the decision.

Mr Ives added: "The gift of this is in the FA because the resolution that has been put together is not binding to the FA. The FA have the ability to accept it or not.

"The FA, as a central body, are responsible for the National League System so anything that's suggested would need to go through the Alliance Committee and ultimately the FA Council.

"Do I believe it's in our best interest to present everything to them so they can consider what is the right thing to do? Yes, of course I do."

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If clubs who wished to play on were allowed to do so then several factors would have to be determined, such as whether they would play in one division or two geographical leagues, whether promotion would be viable and how many times each side would meet one another.

Clubs in the North and South voted to null and void after £10m of National Lottery funding - in place to compensate lost match day revenue from no fans being allowed to attend - ended in December.

Clubs were offered loans to continue but many did not want to take on debt.

The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport claim the grants would only last three months (October to December) but the National League and clubs felt they were led to believe support would be in place until the return of fans.

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"The league, together with the Football Association, were under the impression that continual support would happen and they went into it with all good faith, as did the clubs," added Mr Ives, who moved to the National League from his previous job at the FA after former CEO Michael Tattersall stepped down in early December.

"The clubs themselves ended the season and I really feel for the clubs.

"But I also feel for the league board. We entered into a situation, I've looked in the records, with the best of faith."

Speaking about the null and void decision, Mr Ives added: "I'm a football guy and I would prefer that we were all playing football.

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"But I think it's fair to say that in order to do that, teams need somebody to play.

"What was perfectly clear is that teams were struggling due to the financial situation they were in.

"Some were able to fulfil their fixtures and some weren't so something had to be done."

AFC Fylde, Gloucester City, Havant & Waterlooville, Chelmsford City, Hemel Hempstead Town, Chorley, Hungerford Town, Concord Rangers, Kidderminster Harriers, Dartford, Oxford City, Dorking, St Albans City, Eastbourne Borough, Welling United, Ebbsfleet United and York City also signed the letter alongside the Pilgrims.

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