English FA quash Jersey Bulls' promotion hopes
‘As disappointed as we are, we have to look forward,’ was the message from chairman Russell Le Feuvre after it was confirmed that Jersey Bulls will have to compete in Combined Counties League Division I again next season.
Since the English FA took the arguably premature decision to null-and-void and expunge the current season for all leagues in the National League system from Step 3 and below, rather than the more popular option of deciding matters on a points-per-game basis, Bulls were hopeful they would be given special dispensation to move up to the Premier Division of the CCL. The Island club had a dominant inaugural season – 27 league wins from 27 league matches – and had already sealed promotion before lockdown was enforced and all organised football programmes suspended.
‘Since the initial null and void decision several months ago it became increasingly possible through various discussions that clubs would be moved up to fill vacancies left by teams who had either folded or merged or requested voluntary relegation,’ said Le Feuvre. ‘It’s disappointing that this remaining hope has officially gone.
‘[On Friday night] the vice-chairman of the English FA rang at 11.30pm to confirm the decision and say how he sympathised with us and the other team who had already won promotion, Vauxhall Motors,’ Le Feuvre continued. ‘The Combined Counties League were very supportive and keen for us to be granted promotion based on the level of performances achieved by the players and the management team this season. Ultimately, though, it was not their decision to make.
‘We are in a stable position as a club (which sadly isn’t the case for some clubs in England) as we continue this journey in the English football pyramid next season. We are all incredibly proud of the whole club and the efforts of everyone involved off the pitch and the outstanding achievements of the players and the management team. We will be doing all we can to replicate the success of this season and we really hope that our fans, who have been fantastic throughout, will also be doing the same and backing us all of the way.’
The FA’s decision to null-and-void and expunge the season was generally greeted with disbelief by many in the game, with two petitions formed to pressurise the FA to reverse their decision and seek an alternative solution. The FA has, in some quarters, long been viewed as incompetent and out of touch. Many took to social media to express their anger at the decision. ‘Stupid, just plain stupid. Feel for the lads and the management team. We should all do our best to get behind them now,’ said one post, while another said: ‘They’d already been promoted by the league. Stupidity 1, Common Sense 0.’
Following a meeting of the National League System Committee in mid-July, Bulls will find out when the league programme for 2020-21 will start,with the current indication that it will likely be in early September.
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