Worthing have welcomed the announcement to ‘curtail’ their current season rather than null and void.
The West Sussex side were again leading the way in the Isthmian Premier Division, having played eight games of 2020/21.
Adam Hinshelwood’s team were seven points clear when last season was suspended and ultimately declared null and void, having played a game more than 2nd-placed Cray Wanderers.
The club have said as part of a statement: “As frustrating as (the season curtailment) is, we completely acknowledge the much wider challenges society is dealing with and totally accept the advice of the scientists, and in whatever way we can, we will play our role to support our community through the roadmap out of lockdown. We also recognise the multiple reasons why both this season and last season had to be stopped.
“There has been a lot said, most of which has made eminent sense. Where real frustrations exist for our club is, having determined the 2019/20 season needed to stop, why make it null and void with all the finality that has meant?
“Having played 34 games, 80% of the season, our senior men’s team were top of the Isthmian Premier League, with automatic promotion firmly in our sights. Instead of curtailing the season, which would have protected the results and data, the season was simply declared null and void, effectively removing any data from the history books.
“The club believe that whilst the league showed pace and decisiveness, it was perhaps too binary, as it did not differentiate between stopping the season and protecting the data. Had the data from the 2019/20 season been combined with data from this latest 2020/21 season, we played a total of 42 games, effectively one whole season, secured 92 points and an average 2.19 points per game, the highest of any team in the country at Step 3, finishing both part-seasons on top.
“The club is pleased to see some learnings by the league and The FA to curtail the 2020/21 season rather than declare it null and void, giving them greater flexibility with an option to use the data in the future should the 2021/22 season be disrupted. This is a frustration shared throughout the club, as our women’s team had mathematically won their league by the time the 2019/20 season again was declared null and void.”