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South Shields will seek legal advice if necessary over promotion denial

South Shields have said they will seek legal advice if necessary over the decision to end the 2019/20 season with immediate effect, rendering the results of the past few months null and void.

With nine games to go, the Mariners were some 12 points clear at the top of the Northern Premier Division, albeit with some teams having games in hand. Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side were odds-on to reach the National League North after taking the title race to the last day in 2018/19 and subsequently losing in the divisional play-off final last May.

In response to The FA’s decision yesterday to end the seasons of Step 3-6 divisions in non-league, Shields said as part of a statement:

“We stand alongside the many other clubs which find themselves in a similar situation and have already opened dialogue with some of them regarding the best way forward. We will write to the FA in the strongest possible terms so they are left in no uncertainty as to our feelings, and will seek to appeal if there is a mechanism to do so. If the response does not satisfy us we will seek legal advice.

“We will seek clarification over whether, with all of the results of the 2019-20 season now annulled, all fines paid to the FA as a result of players picking up yellow and red cards in those matches will now be reimbursed. We will seek clarification over whether the FA will now refund all tickets bought by supporters for those annulled games. We will seek clarification over whether the FA will reimburse the costs accrued by clubs over the last six months for coach travel to away fixtures, which in our case equates to approximately £20,000. We have several other questions and look forward to the FA’s reply.

“A further concern of ours is that, should coronavirus be ‘beaten’ over the summer months only to return in a frightening second wave next winter, results next season will also be annulled.”

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