New National League season to start in October

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hit sports the hardest, with live competitions and tournaments having to be suspended almost overnight all over the world earlier this year.

New National League season to start in October

Distributed / Written By : Kristen Rainey

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hit sports the hardest, with live competitions and tournaments having to be suspended almost overnight all over the world earlier this year. It has been a mixed bag in terms of resuming these competitions over the last month, as we have seen some of them return and complete their seasons successfully, albeit under strict protocols and testing regimes, and with no fans in stadiums to cheer them on. In other scenarios, leagues have had to be ended early, with finishing places decided on the existing league tables, or being calculated one way or another to end the 2019-20 season. In any case, there was a ten week period or so without any live sports anywhere in the world, which would have driven even the most casual sports fan crazy, to say nothing of more hardcore supporters. During this time, we saw the popularity of various online services rise, while esports become a lot more popular as well. Many sports leagues jumped on the esports bandwagon and organized tournaments for fans to watch live, with players from those leagues competing against each other on those games from the safety of their homes. At the same time, sports betting was impossible in the absence of sports events, and so we saw fans turn to sites which had online casino for real money as an alternative for this. Nevertheless, as we said earlier, live sports made some sort of return over the last month or so, giving sports fans the opportunity to watch their favourite teams and players in action again, as well as bet on them as well.

The National League in England was one of those which voted to end its season early back in April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to take root in the United Kingdom. We now know the start for the next season, with the league confirming that it will begin the 2020-21 season from 3rd October, and clubs have been informed to this effect as well. The season is set to run till 29th May 2021, with the promotion playoffs in June, subject to approval from the Football Association. It is hoped that fans could attend matches in some capacity next season, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson having announced that the government is looking at October as the tentative month from when they could permit supporters in stadiums, in reduced numbers, of course. There are several pilot projects taking place at various sporting events taking place at the moment to test if this will be possible, while a second wave of the virus would pour water on all these plans, of course. Teams in the sixth tier will begin their seasons with matches in the second qualifying round for the FA Cup.

We have just seen the completion of the various National League promotion play-offs for next season, with Harrogate Town winning their play-off final against Notts County to win promotion to the EFL League Two, thus marking their first entry to the EFL in their history. Altrincham won promotion to the National League by beating Boston United in the National League North play-off final, while Weymouth were promoted from the National League South after making it past Dartford on penalties, after the game ended level during normal time and extra time.

The National League, despite encompassing the fifth tier and below of the English football pyramid, is still immensely popular, and so it is good news for fans to be able to see the return of National League football soon, potentially by attending matches in person as well.

Updated Date: 30 August 2020, 13:48

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