MALVERN Town chairman Chris Pinder has outlined his frustration following the FA’s decision to curtail the 2020/21 non-league campaign between steps 3-6.

Town sat top of the Hellenic League Division One West by 12 points before the third lockdown was brought in right at the end of last year and now their promotion dreams have been dashed.

“It’s now two seasons in a row that Malvern would have been in the history books as the winner, league champions, but now this group of players are not going to be acknowledged for it, again,” said Pinder.

“I feel sorry for the lads and the managers who deserve more silverware for their time here than they have been able to receive because of the null and voids.

“You want the effort that you put in to be for something.”

The FA have not yet ruled out promotion and relegation this season as there is to be more discussions about a restructure of the league system between steps 4 and 6.

Malvern Town currently play at step 6 of the non-league ladder in the Hellenic League Division One West but it could well be that they are promoted as a result of any changes made.

Regardless of that fact, Pinder now fears the worse for non-league football and thinks participation levels could drop.

“We have been ready for promotion for the last few years and we have players in this squad who now deserve to be playing in levels above,” he added.

“It’s heartbreaking for them and their families because of all the time they give up.

“I think there will be a drop-out at this level. There will be players who haven’t had any training or games to play so they have found a new groove to their lifestyle that doesn’t include football anymore and once you get out of it, it’s hard to get back into.

“So I definitely see there being a drop out, not necessarily here at Malvern but at all levels and all age groups, they will be affected by this.”

The FA have indicated that they will try their best to ensure the FA Vase competition is played out, meaning Town could well play their fourth round fixture against Congleton Town.

But Pinder has his doubts about that even going ahead at this point.

"At the moment all we will be able to do is do 1-to-1 training from March 8," he added.

"So I don't know how were supposed to go into a game in April, as they propose, training like that after not playing for four months or so.

"Especially with them being a higher level club, I think that's particularly harsh on us.

"I don't know if they will give us special dispensation to train in a group or something but I don't know how that's going to go if I'm honest."