THACKLEY chairman Ben Oliver believes the proposed alternatives to declaring the season null and void have major flaws, and says another idea may have been better in hindsight.

Most clubs in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, like Thackley, have only played around 10 league fixtures in 2020/21, so basing promotion and relegation on points per game from that seems unfair.

There have been calls to combine the results from the last two seasons and decide promotion that way, with some calling for relegation too, and others wanting that scrapped.

Thackley won't be relegated or promoted whatever happens, given their middling league form over the last two campaigns.

Giving his objective opinion, Oliver said: "Nobody wants a null and void season, but we've only played 11 league games so far, and Staveley have only had six.

"Is it (points per game) a true reflection? And do we realistically have a big enough sample size?

"I don't envy those making the final decision and as a club we haven't yet sat down and discussed what we'd like to see happen.

"In October, the NCEL consulted with members, and back then, the result was that it was decided we'd go with points per game if the season didn't finish, but that was right near the start of the campaign (when we couldn't have anticipated so few games)."

Discussing the radical new idea, Oliver said: "As for combining seasons together, it's a really difficult one.

"The thing is, many of the squads have changed a lot, and it will have been like competing with two different teams.

"For teams that have done really well in both, it would work, but for someone like Selby in Division One of the NCEL, it's been a complete reversal, they were right at the top last year and now they're bottom.

"What conditions were pitches in last season, compared to this one? That's a factor too. I just think there's too many variables to consider when it comes to deciding the league over a two-year period."

Asked what could have been done, Oliver said: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and maybe it would have been better to finish off last season, played that last quarter of it a few months later, and just had some regional cups this season.

"We had a semi-final against Farsley Celtic in the (2019/20) West Riding County Cup, then potentially a final against Guiseley, so we were disappointed not to get to finish that competition for example.

"I suppose there's the possibility again of having different squads, but I think it would have been easier to persuade players to stay, knowing they'd only have had to finish off another 12 or 13 games."

Thackley were allowed 150 fans into their matches, until the league was suspended at the end of December.

Discussing that, Oliver said: "Our home game against Eccleshill on Boxing Day was a sell-out, but even then we only broke even (with the clubhouse closed).

"It could have been a different story for, say, a game with AFC Mansfield, which may have had a smaller gate.

"We could well have made a loss there, and the restrictions that were in place just weren't sustainable in the long-term."

An FA survey has now been sent out to Step 3 to 6 non-league clubs, like Thackley, and they have until January 22 to respond on how they would like to see the season concluded.

The FA Leagues Committee have also decided that league fixtures can't resume until the following criteria are met:

- All clubs can admit paying spectators to Phase 2 levels, which for those at Step 5 like Thackley would be up to 300 fans.

- All clubs are able to access secondary income streams such as bar takings.