Margate have announced their withdrawal from this season’s FA Trophy.

Jay Saunders’ side were due to play Burgess Hill Town in the first round proper of the competition next Tuesday.

A club statement, though, explains:

“Dear Gate supporters, as you may already be aware, the Isthmian League have tonight announced that the football season will be suspended due to the risks presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. This decision has been agreed across the Trident Leagues, Isthmian, Southern and Northern.

“Currently, they have given no details regarding review dates to restart the league. However, in the short-term, this means that no fixtures will be played throughout December.

“This has a particularly unfortunate effect on the Gate with regards to our scheduled FA Trophy on Tuesday 8th December. After much deliberation, we have taken the very tough decision to withdraw from the competition.

“A number of factors have contributed to this decision. Firstly, the health and safety of our players and staff are of paramount importance; Kent is currently in Tier 3, with alarming infection rates across the county.

“This risk, alongside the fact a number of players in the squad are in isolation, presents a serious risk factor. Additionally, as a Tier 3 area, no fans will be allowed into HDP to watch the game.

“The financial implications of this apply a pressure on the club if we proceed. No one wanted this to be the way we finished 2020 but we hold out hope that football will return in 2021.

“We will update you with any information as and when we receive it. In the meantime, we hope supporters take good care and keep safe. Up the Gate!”

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