BRADFORD (Park Avenue) are outraged to find they have been fined £6,000 and deducted points for failing to play three fixtures in their now-curtailed Vanarama National League North campaign.

The three games in question are the ones against Blyth Spartans, Farsley Celtic and Hereford in February.

At that stage, the league effectively came to a halt due to clubs still being unawares about any financial help after returning from a suspension, caused by that very reason.

Clubs began the 2020-21 season expecting to be given Government grants to cover the lost revenue from playing behind closed doors.

Besides the £90,000 Avenue received for October-December, these were not forthcoming.

Instead, loans were being offered. Something most clubs rejected due to the long-term financial implications.

The panel gave the 16 guilty clubs, including Guiseley, across the National League North/South a £2,000 fine - with a 30% reduction for those who accepted the decision before the hearing - as well as a two-point deduction, which will come into force next season, for each offence.

"It is unbelievable and an absolute disgrace," Avenue director of football Martin Knight fumed.

"They lied to us in October and put our club in financial jeopardy. Their solution is to fine us. That is now a player less we can afford next year.

"They should have said, 'the league has been abandoned no harm, no foul'. To then sit down and say they want to fine us £2,000 for each game, it's a joke.

"Predicated on a lie from the National League, we started the season. When that lie came to fruition, we couldn't afford to continue so we stopped playing."

The club will contest the decision with the FA and take advice to see if there will be any legal ramifications for the National League.

A National League statement read: "Given the extremely unusual circumstances that have affected football at all levels and the financial pressures the absence of spectators has brought to bear on clubs, the panel expressed its sympathy with the clubs’ predicament.

"However, the panel believes it must also take regard of the fact that the majority of clubs continued to fulfil fixtures and incur much costs until the league ended on February 19."