WITTON Albion have confirmed both of their planned fixtures over the festive period have been postponed.

Carl Macauley's side were scheduled to welcome Warrington Town to Wincham Park on Boxing Day before travelling to Nantwich Town on New Year's Day.

However, the club have confirmed they have exercised the option to postpone both fixtures.

Clubs were given the option to opt out of playing over the festive period after the Northern Premier League initially said Boxing Day would see a full programme of fixtures resume.

That move was criticised by clubs, with concerns over crowd capacities, the inability to serve refreshments in grounds and the allocation of government funding as loans rather than grants the major sticking points said to make hosting fixtures financially unviable for many.

Witton chairman John Salmon hit out at the league's initial decision to restart on Boxing Day, saying clubs were not consulted about the move.

He also says the "staccato manner" of the league's continuation is "causing chaos" for clubs and he felt the club had no other option but to take the action they have.

"Our reasoning is twofold," he said.

"The continued safety of our playing staff and volunteers together with the supporters is paramount.

"The staccato manner in which the League is being continued is frankly causing chaos.

"I sympathise with the Northern Premier League as they are looking for guidance from the FA and Government, which is equally confusing. However, the introduction of Tier 4 has made matters worse.

"The second reason is that the survival of the football club outweighs all other matters.

"Our players and staff are currently on furlough having generously taken a reduction of 20% of their normal wage.

"In order for them to continue to play we would have to take them off furlough, and pay them in full.

"If for any reason a game is postponed, we would be forced to pay them without having received any gate receipts.

"In addition, the fact that the stipulated £14 million is not to be allocated in the form of grants, has meant that the only safety net clubs have has is the flexible furlough scheme.

"It is therefore our intention to retain all staff under this scheme until such time all clubs are to play fixtures."

The 2019-20 Northern Premier League campaign was declared null and void in March as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

Now, with two months' worth of games to catch up on and the remainder of the season to fit in, the likelihood of 2020-21 going to same way is increasing by the week.

"The continued delay and number of fixtures postponed would now suggest that the format of the league will have to be altered to achieve a result," Salmon continued.

"It is not certain at this stage how the competition will be decided and with a further national lockdown facing us, we feel that there is no option but to take the above course of action."