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Chairman Griffin believes clubs who refuse to play should be 'punished' as National League continues

Photo Credit: Darren Woolley

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After clubs in the National League received the news that their season will continue, Maidenhead United chairman Peter Griffin says those who refuse to carry on playing should be sanctioned by the division’s governing bodies.

Last Thursday, clubs in the National League, as well as those in the National League North and National League South, were given the results from a series of resolutions determining the season’s outcome.

Maidenhead United were one of 13 clubs who voted to carry on playing matches behind closed doors and CEO Jon Adams confirmed last week they were in the process of applying for financial support from Sport England’s long-term, low interest loan scheme in order to do that.

Seven clubs did vote to terminate the season, however, and it remains to be seen whether they will now fall in line with the rest of the division and complete the campaign or take steps that could threaten the integrity of the competition.

As it stands promotion to and from the Football League will be maintained and no side will be relegated after clubs in the National League North and South divisions voted to terminate their campaigns immediately and declare them null and void.

“We voted to continue the season because, having taken the grant money before Christmas which helped us through that period, we owe it to the league to carry on,” said Griffin.

“Whilst we’re having to fund things via a Sport England loan, which we’ve applied for but are yet to receive a notification of, we felt it was the right thing to do. Of course, we would have preferred grants to take us right the way through but the loan is long term and it’s low interest.

“I think we’ve made the right decision and we’re pleased to carry on because we’re having a good season on the pitch. We’re enjoying it and we wouldn’t have wanted it to conclude prematurely.

“It’s probably no surprise the clubs nearer the bottom were asking for it to finish and it’s the same in the National League North and the National League South too. Clubs will vote for what’s in their best interest but there are a lot of clubs who have voted for this season to finish but voted for last season’s to continue with the play offs.

“Slough Town and Havant and Waterlooville, for example, are clubs who had one view last year and a different view this year. This is why the league has had to determine the outcome on a majority vote. It’s the right way to do it.

“It’s disappointing that one or two clubs are saying they are not going to continue, and I personally think sanctions should be taken against them as appropriate.”

Maidenhead’s next two fixtures, both against bottom club Dover Athletic, are now unlikely to go ahead on Saturday and Tuesday with the Whites currently refusing to fulfil their fixtures. They were one of the clubs who voted for the season to be cancelled and have furloughed all management, players, and staff. The Crabble outfit have said they will not play fixtures without ‘appropriate funding’ and chairman Jim Parmenter told the BBC that the club ‘can’t afford to carry on and don’t want to carry on.’

“Dover have already said they’re going to stop playing and not carry on this year.” said Griffin.

“However, the league is a democracy and for all of the criticisms it has received, and how the board have handled things lately, the season was put to a vote and you’ve got to go with the majority.

“For them to not like how the vote has turned out and say ‘No, that’s it, we’re not continuing’, having already received quite substantial grant money, is wrong and I believe they should be punished.

“I understand they have had huge financial problems in the last couple of years before the pandemic and that’s why they’re not playing. But the pandemic is hard for everyone.

"They’ve overspent for years and I guess this year has come back to bite them. I have sympathy, but it's very limited," added Griffin.

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