Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony adds name to non-League petition to Football Association

Darragh MacAnthonyDarragh MacAnthony
Darragh MacAnthony
Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has added his support to a petition protesting at the FA's decision to void non-League and women's football.

The decision was made last Thursday to expunge all results for the 2019-20 season at non-league and grassroots level.

The FA has faced criticism for voiding the season for divisions below the two tiers of the National League, and for women’s football below the Women’s Super League and Championship, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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The governing body said the decision was made by the leagues and supported by the FA Board and FA Women’s Board but many clubs are not happy, including local sides Peterborough Sports and Stamford, as well as the Posh Ladies team, who were all in strong positions in their respective leagues.

A petition has now been signed by more than 100 clubs asking for the FA to think again, expressing 'profound concern and displeasure' with the decision to expunge all results, and MacAnthony has added his and Peterborough United's name to the letter.

That move comes after the Posh chairman made his feelings very clear on his new podcast, called Football Club Chairman - Hard Truth.

In the second episode he addressed the situation involving non-League clubs having their seasons 'destroyed', and said: "I am absolutely shocked that this decision has been come to so quickly.

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"I understand there are those in the camp who want to argue that life is more important than football, I get all of that and you are absolutely correct, we don't want to lose any lives to this.

"But the reality is we will defeat the virus, we will get back to work, life will go on, and sport will resume, which is also a big business and part of millions of people's lives.

"There are the people who work for these football clubs, the people who play for these football clubs, the people who put money into these football clubs and have got to the point where they are nine, 10 games away from finishing the season.

"For this to happen, for this decision to be taken on March 26, has left me flabbergasted.

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"I am gutted for the players, female and male, I am gutted for the managers, coaches, the staff, the owners who have ploughed millions in these clubs, the Barrows of the world and some clubs lower down, who I think had already won promotion at this late stage of the season.

"That is now completely wiped out.

"People are being told that everything they have done over the past nine or 10 months has done down the toilet, and for me the decision was taken too quick and is too harsh.

"Who knows what is going to happen in the next three or four weeks?

"To call time on a season now when we are early in this isolation process, I just feel like they are jumping the gun."

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MacAnthony said he is determined to stay in a positive frame of mind, and added: "Let's just say that come May, isolation is being lifted, life is starting to go back to normal, the EFL and Premier League then come up with a plan to play behind closed doors and get their seasons finished.

"Who knows where we are going to be in May and June, but just say that does happen. What are we going to say to all the non League clubs?

"What are we going to say to all the women's football clubs? How is the FA going to justify making this decision?

"Why did the decision need to made right now, that is what I don't understand and I think it is jumping in gun.

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"It might be proved in time that I am wrong, and the FA is right, but I just don't understand why that decision had to be made, particularly right now when everybody is down.

"If they do stem it (the pandemic) and life goes back to normal, then how can we look these people in the eyes, these people who work at these football clubs, and we have just destroyed everything they have worked for in the past nine, 10 months.

"I am gutted for everybody involved and I would like to send my support to all those football clubs that have had this decision made, and had their aspirations and hopes taken away from them.

"I pray the the EFL, the Premier League and the rest of football don't make such a hasty decision, and I don't think they will.

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"We are working on solutions, I think we will come up with the right solutions for the integrity of our game, and the mental state of mind of all of our members and all of the people involved in football, including the millions of fans out there.

"They need hope, all of those fans of these non-League clubs, there hope has been taken away from them with regards to this season."