WORCESTER Raiders West-Midlands Regional League season has been suspended, it has been confirmed by the league this morning.

It comes following an "emergency meeting" held by league officials and clubs last night. 

The WMRL, in which Raiders play in the Premier Division, called the meeting to discuss the implications of the new coronavirus tier system, with attendance numbers and limitations on food and drink being the major issues. 

It is hoped the season will now start on December 19 but the league have decided to postpone until the next government review into the tier system, due to restrictions on tier two and three clubs. 

Following the news last week that crowds of up to 2,000 or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lowest, could return to stadiums in tier two areas from December 2, Raiders officials were hopeful of record numbers at Sixways, due to its almost 12,000 capacity. 

However, it is understood that 300 spectators will be the cap on step 6 football games, regardless of the maximum a ground can hold. 

Clubs in tier three areas have been told they must carry out their home games behind closed doors. 

With a large proportion of the Midlands region being placed in the ‘very high alert’ category, a significant number of games will be played in empty stadiums, which would have a detrimental affect on clubs’ financial situation.

Tier two clubs such as Raiders might be allowed supporters but clubs under those restrictions are concerned by the government’s decision to limit venues to provide food and drink on site. 

A number of leagues between steps three and six in the non-league football ladder have suspended their seasons until the government review the tier system again on December 16.

Raiders were due to kick-start their campaign again on December 13 with a home tie against league leaders Shawbury United. 

The fixture was being targeted for a record attendance as broadcaster and non-league expert Tony Incenzo was due to cover the game for talkSport radio.

But now the game will be postponed until a later date once the league restarts. 

Last night Worcester Raiders chairman Steve Harris said they would support an extension to the season. 

"We would welcome an extension to the league to complete the season, if this is an option given by the league," he said.

"Looking at how the other regional leagues have approached the new tier system it looks like they will review later on December and I would expect our league to do something similar.

"We would love to carry on playing as a tier 2 club but 65 percent of the clubs we play are in tier 3.

"It’s very hard for tier 3 clubs to carry on playing as they have players wages to pay, officials fees, floodlight costs, with no income on match days.

"I’d imagine our season would resume once the majority of these clubs fall back to tier 1 and 2."