THE uncertainty for non-league clubs continues after the Football Association announced they are to wait on clear guidance from the Government about the country’s next steps out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Clubs in steps 3 to 6 of the pyramid, which includes the Northern Premier League and North West Counties League, have been asked about how they think the season should proceed.

Despite differing opinions, it is widely expected that a second straight campaign will be declared null and void given clubs have only been able to complete a handful of games.

As Radcliffe and Ramsbottom, of the NPL, and Prestwich Heys and Bury AFC, of the NWCFL, wait for answers, the FA say a statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the next stage in their process.

“The Alliance Committee (steps 3 & 4) and Leagues Committee (steps 5 & 6) met on February 8 and 9, respectively, to discuss the data that was collated following the recent surveys circulated to Clubs at this level of the game,” a statement read.

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

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

NPL chairman Mark Harris insists he wants as swift a resolution as possible for his clubs with one eye already being cast towards how next season might look.

“We hope this roadmap will include clarification of when non-elite football can resume, and under what conditions,” he said.

“We can then decide upon the outcome of the 2020/21 season. No-one wants to delay this any longer than necessary.

“The pandemic has brought out the best – and worst – in people. It has taught us all new lessons and reinforced others that we already knew.

“It would be naive to assume that there will not be any further disruption next season, so we must plan for that disruption.

“The Trident Leagues (NPL, Southern and Isthmian which run steps 3 & 4) are already looking at how to create the necessary flexibility in the 2021/22 programme to deal with any disruption.

“These steps may include starting the 2021/22 season earlier and planning fixtures differently to make it much easier to implement an alternate competition should circumstances demand.

“Obviously, the outcome of the season will also have a major bearing on whether the NLS can be re-structured ahead of next season. Hopefully, the situation will be much clearer by the end of this month.”

The situation is clouded further by the uncertainty surrounding the future of the National League campaign, steps 1 and 2, as that feeds into the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

The 66 clubs that make up the National League, National League North and National League South began the season in October on the understanding that initial grant funding would continue into 2021 if fans were not allowed to attend matches.

However, this has not been the case, with clubs now learning that £11million due to be offered as part of the Government’s Sports Winter Survival Package will now be in the form of loans.

At the beginning of the month, National League clubs were given four weeks to vote on the status of the season and are being asked to continue playing games, although some clubs are refusing, given the potential financial implications.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport maintains it never promised future funding in the form of grants.

“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,” the FA statement added. “There will be an update provided in due course.”