CHESTER FC have had their say following the National League vote which has seen their season end after just 17 of the 42 games played.

The Blues had been third in the National League North table, playing their final game on January 19, before an escalating row over how the clubs would be funded during coronavirus lockdowns brought a premature halt to their football campaign and that of 42 other clubs at their tier.

Amid a badly handled set of circumstances, the National League threatened disciplinary action against National League North clubs which called off their fixtures, despite said clubs fearing for their financial future with no income available during lockdown from what would usually be paying spectators at the ground.

Just before the National League clubs' vote on resolutions whether to end the season was announced, Chester FC said it would not play any more fixtures until the outcome of the vote was known.

The votes saw National League clubs vote 13-7 to continue their season, with National League North and South clubs voting 24-19 in favour of ending their season with immediate effect, with the season declared null and void.

It will mean no clubs will be relegated from the National League, and none will be promoted from the National League North or South. It would also appear unlikely any clubs from the latter two divisions will be relegated either.

Reacting to the outcome of the vote, Chester FC's board has put out a statement, thanking the squad – some of who had gone above and beyond by playing for free during these trying times – the staff and volunteers for helping to ensure games were held in a Covid-secure way, and the fans, who have dug deep despite the economic uncertainty many of them have faced.

The board said: "While we believe this is the correct outcome and the most appropriate way to ensure the survival of the 43 clubs in the North and South divisions, there is a sense of great frustration at the events that brought us here.

"We are disappointed for the management and players, who have represented the Club with pride and performed so well, for our staff and volunteers, who worked incredibly hard to prepare for the season and in responding to ever-changing requirements, and for our magnificent fans, who despite not being able to support their team in person, have again demonstrated what makes this such a special football club.

"We feel it is vital clubs and their supporters receive an explanation for the decisions and actions that contributed to the disastrous collapse of the 2020/21 season and trust the National League now recognises this.

"Our Club continues to face financial challenges owing to the unfair distribution of grants covering the first three months of the season. These have been compounded through having to remain fully operational from 1st January without the grant funding clubs were assured would be provided.

"The Board is optimistic these challenges can be overcome together and the help of our supporters in purchasing season tickets, match streams and contributing to Boost the Budget is central to this. It is our intention to build on the successes of this campaign and to ensure our Club is in the strongest possible position for next season, and we hope to have some positive news to share soon.

"We will provide further updates, including information for season ticket holders, over the coming days and thank you for your continued support, encouragement and understanding."

It is unclear why the National League appeared to communicate to clubs initially there would be grant funding to help them through the season, instead of what were ultimately low-interest loans. Many of the clubs had begun their seasons on the understanding they would have sufficient funding to help them through the season.

Clubs did receive a share of £10 million of National Lottery funding in October, to help them through until the end of December.

At the time of that funding, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "I know from a brilliant club in my area that National League football clubs are the beating heart of their communities and too precious to lose. This £10 million fund will provide a bridge to help clubs survive this immediate crisis whilst we work together on the safe return of fans."

However, two of the three divisions have since ended their season with only about a third of games played.

At the time, that funding was also controversial, with an independent panel brought in to assess the alleged skewing of payments towards some clubs rather than others. The National League has received that panel's report but has still, to date, release the findings.