Sport across the world has been put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic, including the English football leagues across all level and tiers. Sunderland Ladies were one of the teams waiting to hear how the rest of their season would pan out.
The FA have announced today that all football played below tier three will end immediately, with all results expunged. There will be no promotion or relegation from this tier and those below it. This means that Sunderland Ladies’ season is now null and void. The Lasses were 11 points clear at the top of the National League Northern Division with a game in hand.
The FA are still deciding the “most appropriate way” to for teams in the Women’s Super League and Championship to complete their season.
Today’s decision from the FA is incredibly disappointing and frustrating for Sunderland. They’ve been on the receiving end of so many FA decisions that haven’t worked in their favour - it’s incredibly unfair.
Only two seasons ago were they relegated for being unable to pay funds to stay in the top leagues, despite being a strong enough side to face the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
Sunderland have been head and shoulders above their league rivals this season - they’ve put in some fantastic performances throughout the campaign, including a 6-1 win over Middlesbrough last month. They were still playing football only eleven days ago when they beat Stoke 4-2 at Eppleton CW.
Now their hopes of promotion into the Championship have been cruelly dashed as a result of today’s decision.
What’s arguably more frustrating is the fact that teams in the WSL and Championship may be able to fully finish their season if the circumstances change. Surely there needs to be a level playing field not only in the women’s game, but the men’s game too as to how the season can reach a fair finish. How does it make sense that some leagues are declared void, yet Premier League and WSL teams may have the chance to play out their league?
These circumstances regarding the Coronavirus may be unprecedented, but the FA’s decisions make little sense and really seem to put smaller clubs at a disadvantage.
It seems like Sunderland have suffered setback after setback in recent years, despite being a team packed full of talent and capability. Whatever happens to them, they know they have our full backing, and we’ll support them in their ventures.