DORCHESTER Town, Portland United and Bridport must wait to discover the fate of their seasons, following an FA update.

The trio of Dorset clubs have not played a competitive fixture since December due to the third national lockdown.

During what has been a complex and multi-faceted situation, leagues in Steps 3 and below were deemed ‘non-elite’ in 2020.

This means the Magpies, Blues and Bees cannot currently fulfil fixtures under government guidelines.

Portland have completed 15 league games, Bridport 10 and Dorchester just seven.

Chiefs in the Southern League, governing Dorchester’s fixtures, have paused the league until Saturday, March 6 at the earliest.

Bridport’s Western League and Portland’s Wessex League have been suspended indefinitely.

In a statement, the FA said: “The Alliance Committee (Steps 3 & 4) and Leagues Committee (Steps 5 & 6) met on 8th and 9th February, respectively, to discuss the data that was collated following the recent surveys circulated to clubs at this level of the game.

“During discussions, the committees acknowledged the likelihood that the Prime Minister will set out a ‘roadmap’ to the nation on 22nd February as to how Government intend to begin to reduce the current Covid-19 restrictions.

“Given that any such update from the Government on 22nd February may provide the committees with additional, relevant information to help determine the preferred route forward, they have agreed to re-convene after this date.

“In addition, the Alliance Committee are also conscious of the ongoing process the National League (Steps 1 & 2) are undertaking and the potential impact this could have on any actions the committee may choose to take.”

Clubs were due to vote on the outcomes of their season, with league officials across Steps 3 to 6 set to collate ballots soon.

Chiefs are widely expected to null and void the campaign, beginning the 2021/22 as normal in August.

But the scenarios at play are complicated by a tense funding situation in the National League.

Teams in Steps 3 to 6 can apply for grants of £27,000, £15,000, £10,500 and £7,500 respectively as part of a £10m Winter Survival Package government grant.

But National League clubs in Steps 1 to 2 have been told £11m made available must be taken in loans and only grants where immediate financial strife is proven.

The majority of Step 2 sides have publicly backed voiding the season, meaning promotion from Step 3 could be scrapped.


t: 01305 830999

e: neil.walton

twitter: @EchoSportNeil