KEY figures of English non-league football are meeting on Tuesday to discuss how the 2019/20 season should be resolved.

All football was suspended on March 16 in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus, and with stringent measures regarding public gatherings and social distancing in place, including a near-lockdown situation announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday evening, it is unlikely to resume any time soon.

The non-league season was originally scheduled to finish on April 25, but with football unlikely to return before then, and with several non-league teams still due to play as many as 20 league matches, the movers and shakers in the non-league game are aiming to decide where we go from here.

There are several options available, including completing the season when sport is allowed to resume, using the current tables or a points-per-game method to determine positions, or even voiding the campaign entirely.

But what would our local managers do if they were the ones making the decision?

"Where there's a will there's a way"

Helston Athletic are one of those teams with a rather vested interest in how the season is resolved. The Blues are top of the SWPL Premier West with 25 wins and one defeat from 26 matches this season.

The Blues were on a run of 24 consecutive league victories and were closing in on their maiden SWPL Premier title and promotion to the Western League for the first time in their history.

Unsurprisingly, manager Steve Massey is keen to see that his side's achievements are not for nothing and wants to see the season reach a conclusion, whenever that may be.

“I think that if people knew that the season was going to be finished no matter what then the following season can take a hit if it likes because nothing’s started," he said. "You can make these alternative arrangements and say maybe we’ll play each other once, but I think you’ve got to get this season finished.

“We were going to cram so many games into the last month anyway. I think if you can get it all done by the end of June, have July off and even say push the season back a month next year. What’s wrong with pushing the season back a month next year?

“There are probably only two teams that can win the league and I think it’s so close to that happening that the headaches that people like Phil Hiscox [SWPL secretary] are going to have and all of the leagues are going to have, I don’t think it is an answer just to wash your hands of it.

“We wouldn’t do it with a game itself. If we played even down to 80 minutes and there’s a pitch invasion or for whatever reason a game was cancelled, you’d replay it. I just think, where there’s a will there’s a way that we can finish the season and it would just sort out all of the issues that are going to be hanging around.”

"I don't think you can count the season as it is"

While their league campaign is not at the same critical stage as their rivals down the road, Falmouth Town could also have a vested interest in ensuring the season reaches its natural conclusion.

Andrew Westgarth's Town are a comfortable seventh in the SWPL Premier West, but with semi-finals in both the Walter C Parson League Cup and Cornwall Charity Cup on the horizon, he is also keen to continue the season when sport is able to resume.

As well as being against voiding the campaign, he also rules out the idea of using the points per game method to determine winners based on the current league tables.

"I just don't think you can count the season as it is because it's all well doing the points per game but then who have you played in those games?" he said. "For me, I would say continue the season when we get the restart and, if we have to knock pre-season the head we knock pre-season on the head and you roll into the next season, or have a two-week break and look to get the season started again.

"It's hard to have an idea when we don't really know the direction of where it's going. Who's to say that the season isn't canned for six months? Who's to say it isn't banned for a year? We just don't know."

"Not in the interest of sport and sporting integrity"

With Wendron United sitting comfortably in mid-table and out of all cups, you may think that the Dron would be content with whatever decision is made.

However, manager Jack Greenwood argues that, even though his side has nothing tangible to play for, the idea of just stopping the season is 'not in the interest of sport or sporting integrity'.

He said: “I think next season can suffer and be shortened and things can be done differently, but if you think that a season starts at the end of last season with all the pre-season preparation and everything else, it’d be a huge shame not to finish it.

"I don’t mean that just from a Wendron point of view, I mean that from everyone in the league and everyone in football. I think if you’re working towards something, I think you should be given the chance to finish that work.

“I think any talk of it being null and void or just resetting it ridiculous. It needs to be finished one way or another, whenever that might be.

He added: “Every club up and down the country will have an argument to say that it needs to be finished I’m sure, and only very few would actually say, ‘We’ll leave it where it is’, but even those must agree that’s not in the interest of sport and sporting integrity.”

"It's either wipe it totally or finish it"

Porthleven co-manager Graham Blake takes a similar stance to Greenwood, in that while his side are sitting comfortably in eighth in SWPL Premier West, there are other teams fighting around them whose campaign rests on this decision.

But unlike the other three, Blake does concede that voiding the season is preferable to using the current standings to determine the winners and losers of this season.

"There's two ways of looking at it; It's nice for Helston and teams that are at the top [if the current tables are used to determine winners], and then you've got teams at the bottom who are fighting to stay in the league with so many games still to play.

"In my opinion, I don't think you can start a new league without finishing one. I think, whatever it takes, it if means we play in the summer when hopefully this is all cleared, then that's what we do.

"It's good for us, we're in no cups and we're sitting eighth or ninth with nothing to play for. But you've got the teams either side of us where there's a lot to play for."

He added: "You can postpone the league and no-one's champions but I don't think you can give it someone who's not finished their fixtures. It's either wipe it totally or finish it for me."