Havant MP Alan Mak has sent the following letter to The National League Chairman Brian Barwick following up from the one sent yesterday to both them and the department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.
A formal House of Commons letter on this will be released very shortly.
We would like to thank Alan for his tireless work on behalf of Havant and Waterlooville FC and the Promote 2 campaign.
The National League
4th Floor, Waterloo House
20 Waterloo Street
13 June 2020
Dear Mr Barwick,
Further to my letter to you yesterday which you kindly acknowledged quickly, I am writing to you again today on behalf of Havant and Waterlooville Football Club (HWFC) following correspondence and conversations I have had with the Minister for Sport last night and throughout today.
The Minister has informed me of the following points concerning the Government’s position on the definition of “Elite athlete” under the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and the wider matter of National League South promotions and Playoffs which I have raised with him on behalf of HWFC where I’m also Honorary Vice President and a Season Ticket holder:
1. The Government has not expressed a view about whether the National League and/or the National League South are – or are not – “elite”, and has not expressed a view about whether the players employed by HWFC are “Elite athletes” or not under the Regulations. The Government doesn’t give case-by-case guidance at such a granular level, and they’ve not issued a special “directive” about the National League, the National League South or HWFC. Any media and other reports to the contrary are not correct.
2. It is up to the National League to decide whether there are playoffs this season (including for the National League South), and how it promotes and relegates teams in the leagues that it oversees.
3. “Elite athlete” means, in the Regulations, a person who is “an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport”. If HWFC and the National League agree that HWFC’s players meet this definition, the Government is not intending to prevent National League South playoffs from taking place or HWFC from taking part, if this can all be done safely and with regard to the Government’s COVID-19 guidance and the wider public health advice.
As a result of the above, I am calling on you and your colleagues at the National League to organise Playoffs for National League South, and to confirm HWFC’s participation on the basis that they were in second place in the table when the season was paused, a position that would normally entitle them to home advantage in such Playoffs. If the Playoffs cannot be organised, then I am calling on you and the National League to automatically promote HWFC to the National League on the basis of their league position to date this season.
I would be grateful if you could confirm the National League’s position as a matter of urgency.
I am copying this letter to the Minister for Sport and placing it in the public domain given the widespread local and national interest in the National League’s position. Thank you for dealing with this matter so promptly and over the weekend.
Alan Mak MP
Member of Parliament for the Havant Constituency