Cleethorpes Town have refused to travel to the City of Liverpool FC for their FA Trophy tie because of the Tier 3 lockdown in the Liverpool City Region.
Visiting spectators were not allowed to attend the fixture, but the FA were insistence the tie should go ahead unless Sefton Council said otherwise.
Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) guidance is that semi-professional players are permitted to travel into and out of Tier 3 areas for the purposes of fulfilling National League System or FA Competition fixtures.
The situation is in stark contrast to Prescot Cables who forfeited their home tie with Frickley Athletic because of the Tier 3 lockdown.
A Cleethorpes statement: “This is not an easy decision or one that has been taken lightly. However, as a result of the current Government guidance regarding travel in & out of “tier 3” regions, we feel that it is the only feasible option. We will not place our players, management, officials & fans, as well as the wider communities in Liverpool and Lincolnshire, at any unnecessary risk during these unprecedented times.
“We have taken on-board the assurances of our safety from our Northern Premier League counterparts and appreciate all their efforts. Nevertheless, for the reasons outlined, we cannot responsibly proceed with the match.”
It is likely Cleethorpes will have to forfeit the tie.
Many will support Cleethorpes and their stance and it further underlines many of the comments made by several managers in the summer about why a normal season could be a bad idea. Many said clubs should be only playing fixtures within their local regions – avoiding situations like Cleethorpes have now found themselves in.