The League Management Committee has announced a number of decisions for the forthcoming season.

These include the start of the new league season and cup competitions.

League fixtures:

The new season for the Ebac Northern League will start when spectators are allowed to attend matches.  As set out in the FA’s timescales, the intention is to start league fixtures on Saturday, September 5.  However, this is still subject to further discussions between the FA and the Government.

A final decision on the start of our new league season will be taken once the issue of spectators is resolved nationally.  The fixture list will be released at this stage.

Cup competitions:

The Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup will be suspended for the forthcoming season.  In its place, there will be a cup competition just for first division clubs, with matches to be played on a straight knock-out basis with ties to be decided on the night (with no extra time and draws at 90 minutes to be decided by a penalty shoot-out).

The Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup (which is for second division clubs) will be run as normal.

League chairman Glenn Youngman said:

“These are unprecedented times for non-league football and we have had to balance a number of issues.

“The priority is to complete league fixtures.  The delayed start to the season means there are fewer weeks for fixtures to be arranged.

“But spectators are essential to the livelihood of our clubs, so we hope the issue about when spectators can attend games will be resolved at a national level as quickly as possible so we can make a final decision about the start of the new season.

“I would also like to thank all the staff and volunteers and our clubs who are putting in so much work behind the scenes to prepare for the new season and to make it as safe as possible for players, officials and spectators.”

He added:

“The decision to run two, separate cup competitions for our two divisions has been a difficult one.

“However, we are conscious that clubs have been affected by the loss of income.  Running two cup competitions for the two divisions will reduce the pressure on the fixture list while, at the same time, providing much-needed revenue.

“We will keep the progress of the two cup competitions under review during the season.”

(Each county FA will make its own decision regarding the playing of their county cup competitions which are separate from the league.)

Matchday programmes:

Because of the Covid-19 guidance to reduce the amount of material/paperwork handled, we have advised clubs that paper copies of programmes should not be provided for league games and league-related cup matches.  Some clubs are providing programmes online – spectators are advised to check with a club directly to see if this option is available.

Pre-season friendlies:

As pre-season friendlies are being held behind closed doors, these fixtures will not be put on the league website to prevent spectators making unnecessary journeys to the match.  If, at some point, spectators are allowed into pre-season friendlies, then these fixtures will be added to the website.

Squad numbers:

For the 20/21 season the use of squad of numbers has been agreed to help facilitate the guidance for the Covid-19 pandemic.