The Coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on non-league football. Last month it was announced that all football in England below the three divisions that make up the National League ended with immediate effect – with all results expunged – meaning that there will be no promotion or relegation in these leagues.
The biggest news yet was announced this morning, in which intramural football (IM) has followed suit. SUSU sent an email to the intramural captains, stating that any leagues uncompleted have been officially declared ‘null and void’.
The email in full:
As the University is moving to online teaching in semester 2 and [as its]unknown as to how long this current situation is going to last, there is no way to complete the IM season for those sports that were needing to push over into semester 2.
This doesn’t apply to all leagues as some have been completed and there are winners in those leagues, however where it is not possible to determine a winner of a league as there are too many games unplayed it is my personal opinion that these leagues should be void and start a fresh from next season with no one being promoted or relegated. I am happy to listen to feedback from teams affected in those leagues if people feel that we should do something different.
The current (and final) standings
Who benefits from this outcome and who doesn’t?
The happiest and most relieved from this news is undoubtedly ChemSoc, who will be spared the blushes, having failed to score a goal let alone register a point in Division 3. The decision means that HistSoc 2s and Mayflower 1s will also retain places in their respective decisions.
Just like Liverpool could potentially be, it is clear that Glen Eyre, ECSS A and River Plato B will be the most aggrieved with the decision.
Glen Eyre will have a consecutive league title taken from them, whilst promotion hopes for Division 1 and 2 leaders ECSS A and River Plato B respectively are now over.
In Division 2, Highfield and Medics will also feel hard done by having only played 5 matches. If the league was continued by some means they both could have caught second-placed GeogSoc, providing they won their two games in hand. In Division 3, Physoc and Matcats could have leapfrogged league leaders River Plato B by winning their two games in hand, whilst Mayflower 2s have currently won all of their games, and could certainly have made a case of winning the league too.
It now remains to be seen whether the Premier League, on par with intramural football in terms of both entertainment and quality, will follow a similar course of action. This null and void solution will leave some teams happy, and others aggrieved – whichever solution SUSU ended up pursuing, not everyone would have been satisfied. The fact that there is such a vast difference in the amount of games played in each division means that solutions like taking the current standings as they are, would not have been viable. SUSU have acted decisively – unlike the Premier League – and in doing so have eliminated any uncertainty regarding the fate of intramural football.