While the NWCFL initially supported both new clubs’ applications, they did an about-turn when it became clear clubs from Step 7 would not be allowed to enter their structure next season.
League officials therefore felt it unfair that any new club should get a chance to join for the 2020/21 campaign after last season was declared null and void with no promotion or relegation.
In a statement however they insisted they welcomed both new outfits after the FA confirmed allocations from Steps 3 to 6 for the coming campaign.
“We would firstly like to welcome both clubs to the league,” the NWCFL said.
“We are sure that both clubs and their supporters will be welcomed warmly throughout all three divisions of the league and we look forward to working with both clubs over the coming seasons.
“We would though like to make it clear that this decision was made against the wishes of the League Management Committee and the Board of Directors.
“Both Bury AFC and FC Isle of Man opted to apply to join the National League System for the 2020/21 season, and as they are in our geographical area, they asked for our support.
“We met with both clubs and were supportive of their applications to the FA.
“Since then though, the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and with it Steps 3-7 of the pyramid were declared null and void.
“The FA then announced that there would be no promotion and relegation, including no promotions from Step 7. When football resumes at our level, we will be effectively replaying the 2020/21 season.
“Given this, we felt as a league that it was appropriate to review our support for applications of the two new clubs. In order to maintain the integrity of our competition, the board took the decision to withdraw support for the two applications. We informed the FA accordingly of this on Monday, June 22.
“The reason for this was twofold. Firstly no promotion and relegation meant that there was no vacancies in our league.
“Secondly we felt that we needed to be fair to all clubs, especially those in Step 7 who, like the two new clubs, have invested a considerable amount of time and money in attempting to gain promotion, only to be denied through no fault of their own as a result of Covid-19.”
The league added that they met with the FA remotely on July 3 and were informed vacancies would created by lateral movements between leagues, something the NWCFL say “questions the integrity” of the FA Leagues committee.
After consultation the NWCFL formally withdrew their support for Bury and the Isle of Man on July 6.
Since the league made their stance clear, FC Oswestry Town have resigned from the competition, creating one spot.
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