Gary Douglas, chairman of Guiseley is surprised with the National League’s decision to fine the club, after failing to fulfil two league fixtures.

The Lions failed to participate in these fixtures just before the season was officially declared null and void.

Along with Guiseley, Bradford (Park Avenue) and Farsley Celtic were found guilty of this breach. An Independent Panel, commissioned by The National League, met to hear the cases of 18 member clubs charged with alleged breaches of league rules.

In total, sixteen member clubs were charged with a breach of league rule 8.39.

Rule 8.39 relates to any club without just cause failing to fulfil an engagement to play a competition match on an appointed date.

Speaking about the decision to fine the club, Douglas said: “I’m surprised really. I’m very shocked in fact.

“We’ve been fined £2800 but from what I gather, I think a lot of the clubs will get together and appeal it in a joint appeal and if necessary, take some legal advice about the matter.

“It was an unfair decision because when we didn’t play, we gave our reasons for not playing.

“We knew we were breaking league rules under very extenuating circumstances.

“Obviously, some of the other clubs have missed more games than we have but we were under pressure from players. There was no testing in place, no money in place and quite categorically it was a farce that they started the season really.

“It’s a small amount really compared to others, so it won’t impact us massively but it’s the principle of the fine.

“I think the clubs in the league need to stick together until we know what’s happening.

Asked on whether this would affect the long-term relationship between the club and league, Douglas said: “I think the relationships are quite sour from what I gather.

“I think they need to make themselves visible, say what the hell’s going on and what the plan is for the future.

“We could be in the same situation next year. We might not be able to have crowds next year if we are not careful.

“As a league, we are not very happy with the board of the National League.

“I know there’s been look-ins about how incompetent they’ve been and how disgraceful the performance of the people running the league have been, so I’d say watch this space.

“There could be all sorts happening in this next week.”

Discussing the possibilities of a new 3G pitch, Douglas said: “We are considering it. Obviously, it is a huge investment. We have applied for a loan and saved up for half.

“If we can raise the other half in commercial terms, I think we will go ahead with it.

“I think it’s a no-brainer really because it brings in extra income.

A National League statement on the non-fulfilment of fixtures at Step Two reads: “An Independent Panel has ruled that 16 Member Clubs participating in National League North and South are guilty of breaching Rule 8.39 for failing to meet fixture obligations.