Published: 22:18, 03 December 2020
| Updated: 22:19, 03 December 2020
Margate have withdrawn from the FA Trophy - and will not play again until next year.
Gate were due to host Burgess Hill in the FA Trophy first round next Tuesday, a game that would have been played behind closed doors.
But, on the back of the Isthmian League announcing a further pause to their season, Margate have said they are pulling out of the tie - as they can't afford to play behind closed doors and they have players self-isolating.
A club statement said: "As you may already be aware, the Isthmian League have tonight announced that the Football season will be suspended due to the risks presented by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
"This decision has been agreed across the Trident Leagues, Isthmian, Southern and Northern (Premier). Currently they have given no details regarding review dates to restart the league, however, in the short term this means that no fixtures will be played throughout December.
"This has a particularly unfortunate effect on the Gate with regards to our scheduled FA Trophy on Tuesday, December 8. After much deliberation, we have taken the very tough decision to withdraw from the competition.
"A number of factors have contributed to this decision. Firstly, the health and safety of our players and staff are of paramount importance. Kent is currently in Tier 3 with alarming infection rates across the county.
"This risk alongside the fact a number of players in the squad are in isolation presents a serious risk factor. Additionally, as a Tier 3 area, no fans will be allowed into Hartsdown Park to watch the game. The financial implications of this apply a pressure on the club if we proceed.
"No one wanted this to be the way we finished 2020 but we hold out hope that football will return in 2021.
"We will update you with any information as and when we receive it. In the meantime, we hope supporters take good care and keep safe."