Jersey Bulls' debut season deleted from history

Football | Published:

JERSEY BULLS have been dealt a devastating blow after their record breaking season was officially expunged from the record books in a controversial move by the English FA.

Jersey Bulls officials are considering their next step after being told their debut campaign, which had already brought promotion, would be deleted from the history books Picture: ROB CURRIE

Bulls had already sealed promotion from Division I of the Combined Counties League having won all of their first 27 league games with 11 still to play before the league was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, they now face the prospect of having to do it all again after the FA decided to cancel and void the 2019/20 season for all step 3 to step 6 leagues with immediate effect.

In a letter to all the leagues in the National League System, the FA said it had 'reached a consensus that, the 2019/20 season for Steps 3 to 6 will be ended with immediate effect and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between Steps 3 to 6, or relegation from Step 2.'

The letter added that 'consideration was given as to whether a mechanism should be used to calculate final league tables and preserve promotion and relegation between Steps 3 to 6. Whilst inevitably some clubs will favour this option and the merits of this option have been fully considered by The FA and the leagues, it has been decided that this is not the best option to serve the particular needs to Steps 3 to 6 of the NLS'.

To add to the controversy the FA confirmed that the request of the National League, whose divisions make up steps 1 and 2 of the national league system, to seek permission to extend their season beyond 1 June 2020 is still being considered. However, that remains very much in the air as the coronavirus continues to ravage the country.

The decision by the FA is a potentially damaging blow to Bulls who have required thousands of pounds of support and sponsorship to finance what was a Jersey football club's first attempt to play in an English-based league. All that now appears to have gone to waste as Bulls consider their options, including possible legal action against the FA. Chairman Russell Le Feuvre said he was unable to comment at present having only received the news at the same time as the wider public with director Ian Horswell adding that 'the board will meet and issue a statement in due course.'

As well as financial considerations, another season in an uncompetitive league which Bulls would have won at a canter is unlikely to appeal to both players and fans alike. It would obviously be of everyone's interest if Bulls were re-positioned in Step 5 rather than be promoted but this remains to be seen, especially as the FA also confirmed in the letter that their planned re-structure of step 5 and step 6 will also now be deferred until the beginning of the 2021/22 season.

The decision by the FA was met with incredulity by the wider football public that seemed to undermine their line that their move reflected an overall consensus. Many other clubs sought a points per game solution, which, though it would not suit everyone, seemed the more fairer conclusion. Nevertheless, the spoils of victory is only for the few and many other clubs sought self-preservation to the detriment of the more-deserving.

More in Friday's JEP.

Paul Lees

By Paul Lees
Sports reporter

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