National League chairman to leave at end of season

National League chairman Brian Barwick

Brian Barwick - leaving his role as National League chairman at the end of the season - Credit: National League

Brian Barwick is quitting his role as chairman of the much-maligned National League at the end of the season.

The league has been criticised for its handling of the grant allocation scheme which enabled the current season to begin - but midway through hit the rocks when it was revealed that future funding would be by way of loans.

It has left many clubs, particularly in the regional feeder leagues, disgruntled, with a vote of no confidence motion  against the league’s board and Barwick.

In a statement, the 66-year-old said: “After careful consideration I formally told the National League Board in February that I intended to step down at the end of the 2020/21 season. 

“I think it is the right time to relinquish the role - and give somebody else the great privilege of leading the organisation. 

“Since 2015, I believe the competition has continued to grow in stature and profile, sent strong clubs up into the EFL and built up a formidable and loyal set of commercial and broadcast partnerships. 

“Our 66 clubs remain the life-blood of our competition and a vital part of their local communities - and that’s what makes our League so special. 

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“I also acknowledge just how tough it has been for many of our clubs over the past 12 months facing the unprecedented challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic. 

“In closing, I would like to thank my National League Board colleagues, the League’s executive, our commercial partners, the wider football family and, most importantly, our member clubs for their warm welcomes and support over the past six years. 

“I will continue to commit myself to the well-being of the National League until the end of the season. 

“And, of course, I wish my successor as chair and everybody connected with the National League my very best wishes for a brilliant future.” 

National League vice-chairman Jack Pearce said: “Brian’s appointment signified a change of direction by the National League in 2015 for the benefit of the competition.  

“Whilst it would be easy to reflect on what has been a very challenging year for football, not only the National League, the progression of the competition over this six-year period has been greater than we could have expected.  

“The chairman has been influential in our long-term commercial partnerships with Vanarama and BT Sport, with the three-year extensions on enhanced terms this season providing security for member clubs. We have also seen an increased level of professionalism, both on and off the pitch at clubs, since Brian’s appointment.        

“Brian’s remarkable work ethic and trust in others have made him an invaluable colleague and a person I consider to be a wonderful friend.” 

General manager Mark Ives  who replacing Mike Tattersall, who left his job in December. also added: “Brian has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the League and his vast experience across the game and the media has been a tremendous benefit to the League and its member clubs.  

“I have had the privilege now of working with Brian on two separate occasions during my career, and his knowledge and determination has been exceptional.  We are all grateful for his support over the years.”